Productivity won’t only help you in business. Below are 10 things you can do to give yourself more time, in work and in life:
1. Think of yourself as the customer rather than the boss.
The culture of telling people what to do because you’re the boss is dangerous. It removes accountability from people taking decisions and creates a safety net. If you’re the customer, you can define what really matters to you.
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2. Get out of the office.
Today I spend a lot more time working out of co-working spaces, hotel lobbies, coffee shops and other public places. That’s the beauty and freedom that cloud computing bestows on us. I find that when I’m in busier and more serendipitous surroundings I think better, focus more and get more accomplished.
3. Block out time in your calendar to think.
For most people, appointments and meetings get slotted in the calendar but more important things like thinking about real, complex problems don’t. We think that we will get to them when we have time, or that because there is no physical event we don’t need to write them in. In the end they keep getting pushed back. Block time to think about the things that really matter.
4. Press the reset button every morning.
I find that backlogs are very contaminating. They contaminate the past, present and future. In the end you are constantly playing catch-up with yourself. I wipe my backlog clean every day. I wake up with complete amnesia of what I didn’t manage to complete the day before and I ask myself what’s important for the day ahead. It helps me reset my priorities.
5. Have no more than three priorities.
Priorities often get confused with to-do lists. Your to-do list may be endless, but you should have no more than three priorities at any point in time. If you have trouble selecting them, exert the stress test. Go through the list one by one and ask yourself if what you can get rid of. You will find that most things are not priorities — they are nice-to-do’s.
6. Remind yourself of your next goal every day.
It’s so easy to get off track with so many things happening in your startup. Even if you are not 100 percent sure about your final goal, not having one or forgetting your goals is much worse. Keep reminding yourself of your goals and work backwards to chip closer to them every day. You will rarely reach them with one big stride.
7. Set large goals for yourself.
Small easily achievable goals are pointless and in fact damaging. They set a precedence of mediocrity and complacency. Set big goals. They will stretch everyone to keep rethinking the path to success each day.
8. Figure out your optimal modus operandi.
Too many people I know try to optimize their work and themselves based on other people’s rules. Some people think better in groups and others better in person. Some are early risers and some are night owls. Figure out what you are and ignore the heuristics.
9. Leave time for doing nothing.
I am often most creative when I am doing something like just browsing the web, checking out apps, or zig-zagging my way around the Internet with no real intent. I’m not looking at emails or answering calls. Pure chance is really important for thinking creatively.
10. Abandon your fears.
I know this sounds like a cliché, but honestly there’s a difference between parking your fears and throwing them away. When you just realize how little you really have to lose in life (and especially in business), a weight lifts up from your shoulders and you feel free to create. You can’t afford to go about building a startup if you’re stepping on eggshells. Don’t be reckless either. Always use common sense. But do it fearlessly. You have very little to lose.
Xenios Thrasyvoulou is the founder of PeoplePerHour and DeskDonkie. He is also a passionate PPHer, avid blogger, lover of art, design, and all things quirky and minimal but words in particular; he’s also a fan of the uncommon and unconventional and a vintage fanatic who specialises in poking the fire and stirring things up, and suffers from an overly curious mind.
Robert Couse-Baker | StartupCollective