Launching and nurturing a fledgling business can be both rewarding and hugely challenging. Finding ways to boost your productivity without sacrificing sleep and self-care can make a significant difference in your success. Use these hacks from five successful entrepreneurs (including four Canadians) to become more productive running your business.
1. Practice self-care
Ryan Holmes, CEO Hootsuite (Vancouver, BC)
Entrepreneurs are busy people, but like Ryan Holmes, CEO of the social media communication platform Hootsuite knows, making time to care for yourself can let you work more productively and efficiently.
“If you don’t have a healthy body, it’s really hard to be productive,” he says. Holmes practices self-care by walking his dog Micah to work, working out and practicing yoga, drinking lots of water, and snacking on almonds and fresh fruit.
2. Automate tasks
Toby Lutke, Co-Founder Shopify (Ottawa, ON)
There’s no getting around the simple fact that there’s a lot to do when you’re launching a business. Toby Lutke, engineer and co-founder of the e-commerce platform Shopify says, having to do the same thing manually over and over again gets frustrating.
“As an engineer, if I have to do something twice, that’s okay,” he said in a Globe & Mail interview. “If I have to do something three times, I wonder why it’s so hard to automate it.”
Tip: Look for ways to automate repetitive tasks, using Boomerang for email, sharing social media posts via tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, or tracking time with apps that auto-generate consolidated reports like Toggl.
3. Work, don’t talk
Matthew Corrin, Founder of Freshii (Toronto, ON)
Yes, your new business is exciting, and you want to share your enthusiasm with everyone; however, evangelizing your business can distract entrepreneurs from being productive. Matthew Corrin, founder of international fresh and nutritious fast-food restaurant, Freshii, says to maintain productivity when launching a business, remember to focus on the work, not just the marketing.
“Talk is cheap, execution sets you apart.” he told Arlene Dickinson during her weekly podcast, Venturing Out With Arlene Dickinson. “If you’re going to go do it, go out there and win. Spend most of your time with your head down and executing.”
Tip: Use visual trackers like Trello and Asana to organize and prioritize all your projects at a glance. These platforms can help you see where you’re focusing your attention and where you may be falling behind.
4. Group tasks for maximum productivity
Brian Scudamore, Founder of O2E Brands (Vancouver, BC)
Once you start tracking the time you spend on projects, take a close look at how you spend your day. You may discover some surprising time wasters, says Brian Scudamore, founder of O2E brands, which includes the garbage-removal company 1-800-GOT-Junk.
“I’ve found that it’s the little things that wind up wasting the most time,” he writes in a Forbes article. Scudamore’s own productivity audit found that emails were a major time-suck.
His solution? He started sorting incoming emails into three folders: personal, end-of-day, and end-of-week, “So I can power through later in one focused, productive chunk.”
Tip: Group tasks, like responding to emails, admin and calls/meetings together for maximum productivity rather than trying to switch gears throughout the day.
5. Fail fast and move on
Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group of Companies
As one of the world’s most-recognized entrepreneurs, Richard Branson has generously shared many tips for business success over the years. In a recent Virgin blog post, he says spending too much time on worrying over poor decisions can actually hinder your productivity. “In my opinion there’s no right decision or wrong decision — it’s all learning,” he writes. “Knowing this I have been able to learn from times when things didn’t go according to plan, and move on, faster.”
Tip: Try not to lose time by dwelling on setbacks. Instead of focusing on what isn’t working, move on to something new and chalk it up to experience.
No matter what stage of building a business, successful entrepreneurs look for ways to work efficiently and maximize productivity. By putting some — or all — of these productivity hacks into practice, hopefully you will be able to see a significant difference in your business’s success.