30 productivity hacks for business owners

Lack of productivity will kill a company more than anything else. Here’s 30 different productivity hacks that I’ve learned over the last 10 years:

1. Plan your day before anything else. Don’t just randomly reading emails, that will only cause you to focus on random things that aren’t essential.

2. You can be busy but be 0% productive. Is what you’re doing helping you move towards your end goal? If then answer is no, stop doing it.

3. A company’s productivity is the sum of its employees. Think of employees like vectors, they need to have direction and that has to be in the direction of the companies goals. They can be exception employees having a high output (think vector magnitude) but if their direction is not aligned with the company, they could be sending you backwards.

4. The “eisenhower matrix” is one of the best productivity hacks I use each morning to prioritise my day. However be aware that you can subconsciously game it, so make sure everything is aligned with your company (or personal) goal.

5. Avoid the Gollum mindset. If a product or campaign isn’t performing, bin it. Don’t see it as “precious” just because you assumed it would be a success.

Avoid the Gollum mindset Click To Tweet

6. Do what you love and love what you do. If you wake up each morning with dread, you need to change something. Otherwise you’ll end up resenting your job and you’ll not give the most.

7. Alcohol is terrible for productivity. Usually.

8. Cut the bullshit. I’m pretty sure most meetings could be 1/5 of the time they are. Know what the goal of the meeting is before you start.

9. If you are contacting a lot of customers or raising money from investors use a CRM, religiously. Treating things as a sales process means you won’t drop the ball missing follow ups. It also makes you life so much easier knowing what was previously discussed.

10. Repeat yourself in emails, customer communication, sales, etc. Then TextExpander is godly. Look it up.

11. Turn off notifications. You need to focus. You don’t need a reminder notification to say someone added you on LinkedIn or liked your Instagram post.

12. Exercise really helps keep a clear head and elevates your mood. A happier you is a more productive you.

13. Always aim for ABC (accuracy, brevity, clarity) with everything you write and say. Obscure and long words impress no one and waste time.

14. There is no “right time” to work. Do what’s best for you. Sometimes I’m on a roll until 2am. Other days I hot it hard from 7am. It depends on a load of factors and it doesn’t matter.

Work at night or day?

15. Deep house music helps. Nothing like a repetitive beat to focus the mind.

16. Automating as much as you can will really help. Don’t know how, start learning. Otherwise the people who do know how to automate tasks will get exponentially more productive than you. Hints: IFTTT, email snoozing, automated emails, email templates, TextExpander, Zapier, CRM automation, etc.

17. Religiously unsubscribe from emails. Do you really need that Twitter roundup email?

18. Don’t always answer the phone. If you’re in focus mode, focus. Don’t get distracted. You can call them back.

19. Make sure you spend as little time as possible writing an email. If you overthink it, you will waste hours in your day. They don’t give a shit if you used one sentence vs another.

20. Track your time with everything you can do. This can seem tedious but it will give you massive amounts of insight as to where you’re wasting time.

21. Plan work for your commute. Take calls when driving. Reply to important emails while you’re on the train.

22. Why do you have a 12 person office with 4 people in it? That extra space is a cost, which could be used to hire more staff an be productive. Sublet or get a smaller office.

23. Try to understand others first and then be understood yourself. It will make you a 10x better communicator.

24. Encouraging your team to be more productive is not just about financial rewards. Stats show that most employees would take a 15% pay cut to work for a company they love. Find out what your employees’ goals are and help them achieve them.

25. Good sleep and nutrition is critical. You can’t be productive if you’re running on empty. This is possibly the simplest of all productivity hacks.

26. Don’t let clients say “send me a proposal and I’ll get back to you” if they’re just politely palming you off. If they say that then ask them whether they’d be willing to go ahead straight away if they like your proposal and you’ll cut to the real issues.

27. Don’t let people “pick your brain” endlessly if there’s no value for you. We all like to help people, but if you’re giving up all your time then there’s no space for your development.

28. Put a price on your time. Even if you’re not actually earning for that time, it puts a value on it. “I’m wasting loads of time” won’t change your behaviour, “my time is worth £50 an hour and I’ve wasted £5000” will.

29. Is your company doesn’t enforce 9-5, why are you working it? Are your customers only available at those times? Be flexible as it will save you time on your commute and generally make you happier.

30. Remote working employees will save your company money and make them happier. They have less commute time, and you need less office space. Use that money to hire more remote workers.

Stuart Logan

Stuart Logan

The CEO of Twine. Follow him on Twine and on Twitter @stuartlogan – As the Big Boss, Stuart spends his days in a large leather armchair, staring out over the Manchester skyline while smoking a cigar and plotting world domination. (He doesn’t really). Originally from Salisbury, UK, he studied computer science at Manchester University but was always keen to break into the exciting world of start-ups, and was involved in a number of ventures before finalising his plans for Twine. When not wearing his chief executive hat (metaphorically speaking) he enjoys harbouring unrealistic expectations for Manchester United’s future success and live music.