If we all had the opportunity to go back to where we were at just a few years ago, I imagine we would have at least one piece of advice to share with our past selves that would eliminate unnecessary mistakes and wasted time. When you’re in the moment, you don’t really think about how certain actions (or a lack of actions) are really impacting you. Hindsight is always 20/20, though.
September 15, 2016
If you’re running a business or a department in a growing enterprise, then you probably face productivity challenges on a regular basis. You’re not alone in that. Over the past decade, I’ve had to juggle a number of projects at the same time, which has stretched my focus to its limits.
There’s plenty of research that says multitasking on a micro level can harm your productivity. When you’re trying to manage multiple projects or businesses, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and let productivity slip. You take on too much work and wind up doing more harm than good.
I recently had the chance to interview Noah Kagan, founder of SumoMe, to find out how he and his team manage to stay so productive (and increase productivity) amid tremendous growth and management of multiple projects. His insights, along with a glimpse into SumoMe’s approach, might be just what you need to keep your productivity on point.
One of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs, I believe, is that we’re all trying to grow our businesses in an age of significant distraction. You carry mobile devices that have you tethered to a network millions of people deep, you’re juggling multiple applications at all hours, and pushing the limits of how many things you can track on a regular basis.
At some point, something has to give – and when it does, your productivity and work/life balance takes a hit.
We all struggle with this problem to some degree, and it can be helpful to know how others manage to grow and thrive despite constant distractions and unending task lists.
I recently sat down with content marketing influencer and social media strategist Jeff Bullas to find out how he stays productive while writing, speaking, and launching new training courses.
When you’re in charge of a business, you’re all too familiar with that feeling of racing to catch up. But no matter how hard you push or how much you work, you never seem to reach the finish line.
There’s always more marketing to do, more emails to send, another meeting around the corner, more prospects to qualify…
Terminal “behinderness” is an affliction that generates heart-pounding stress and makes you wonder how the most successful founders and leaders manage to be so productive while you feel like you’re constantly drowning.
A lot of it comes down to how they structure their days.
Curious about how some of the top business leaders spent their time, John Rampton (CEO of Due) and Chris Stowell (VP of the International Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness) conducted a survey of 267 C-Level Executives at 163 Fortune 500 companies to find out how leaders in the industry schedule their days to stay productive.
There are busy entrepreneurs, and then there are people who live, eat, breath, and sleep work. They’re driven by a passion for getting the job done, and they are most happy when they’re being productive. In fact, a study from the University of Warwick found that happiness can make people up to 12% more productive.
Are the most effective, successful, and productive entrepreneurs killing it with their daily schedule because they’re happy, or is there something else driving them?
I recently sat down with serial entrepreneur Neil Patel, someone I consider to be one of the busiest, hardest-working people I know.
With multiple successful startups under his belt, like Kissmetrics and Crazy Egg (and a constant stream of new content on NeilPatel.com), I wanted to know how he manages to stay productive at work while juggling an ever-increasing list of side projects – and what drives him to keep going even when the tank is running on empty.
July 21, 2016
Congrats on being an entrepreneur!
The good news is - you are your own boss and you set your own hours.
The bad news is - you are your own boss and you set your own hours!
One of the reasons you wanted to be an entrepreneur was the pursuit of freedom, but as you probably quickly learned, freedom doesn’t necessarily equate to free time.
Your days are filled with trying to get everything done while wrestling with all the things that want to steal your attention away. As a founder, you know firsthand the struggle of managing time effectively and trying to be productive.
Having a solid productivity plan is paramount to success, but it’s hard to picture what that plan looks like amidst the chaos of your day-to-day activities.
As it so happens, there have been a number of famous figures who shared the same struggle, and developed habits and routines to help improve their productivity – from King Otto’s desire to shoot peasants each morning, to Anne Rice’s schedule of only writing at night.
With the exception of trying to execute your followers, it can be helpful to take some productivity cues from well-known historical figures, both past and present, and examine how they got the most out of each day.
You know as a startup founder that it takes a lot of time, energy, and skill just to get the train to leave the station.
School didn’t cover things like sourcing and vetting manufacturers and suppliers, handling customs for international business, marketing, customer onboarding, developing consumer and wholesale funnels, or payroll taxes.
And if they did, it was glossed-over textbook knowledge, not necessarily practical information meant for real-world application.
As you’re building your business, you’ve got to adapt, learn new habits, and teach yourself things you never thought you would spend time learning – let alone trying to master.
That’s just the way it is, whether you’re a cash-strapped startup or you’ve got deep-pocketed investors backing you.
Those new skills and habits broaden the reach of what you can accomplish, as they help you tackle core operational tasks while outsourcing the rest to administrative assistants and freelancers.
So how difficult is it to learn those new tasks and change all of your bad habits to give your startup a fighting chance?
The short and kind of ugly answer: “As long as it takes.”
Growth won’t happen without some sacrifices.
One of those sacrifices that has to be made is surrendering your ability to do it all (that is, all aspects of your business) by yourself. Tim Ferriss summed it up well when he said, “Focus on being PRODUCTIVE, instead of simply BUSY.”
Productive founders know that in order to scale their businesses, they need to be able to get out of the daily details, and into big picture thinking. But in order to do that, they have to outsource.
From Virtual Assistants, to freelance support, to hiring an expert to handle specific tasks, outsourcing means less hours spent tearing out your hair over tedious tasks, and more time pushing your company forward into the future.
You can do that, too. To help get the ideas rolling, we spoke with nine different founders to see what tasks they’ve outsourced and how it helped their companies.
May 5, 2016
The benefits of being productive are obvious:
- You get more done during the workday.
- You feel satisfied at the end of the workday.
- And you have the ability to really enjoy your free time.
Sounds perfect, right?
Yet many of us still struggle with it.
We got lost in the comments on Reddit, we get caught up watching the latest videos on Facebook or we find ourselves watching Snapchats from people we don’t even know.
That’s why I’ve created this six-step process for increasing productivity. In this post, I’m going to show you how to take control of your schedule, optimize your environment for productivity and perform at such a high level that your team will wonder what happened.
May 3, 2016
For busy startup teams, the name of the game —- today more than ever — is productivity.
FitStars CEO and co-founder Mike Maser sums it up perfectly: “When you're building a vision, a team and a product all at once, time is your ultimate currency. Every day presents both the opportunity to break ground and the risk of losing ground. At the end of the day I'd trade anything for an extra hour to ensure we've taken a step forward.”
And when you’re a startup, working at the breakneck speed of startups, it’s only natural that things start falling through the cracks. Social media gets neglected, correspondence goes unresponded-to. Every startup has a laundry list of items they should be doing but aren’t — or things they are doing, but could be doing a lot better.
And there’s a very simple reason for that: startup teams are not an unlimited resource.
There are only so many hours in the day, so many people on your team, so much energy and focus that each of those team members has to put toward getting your company where it needs to go. And, of course, there’s that other, classic startup limitation: the bank account. Whereas larger, more established companies might run into a problem and throw money at it, startups have to be a lot more strategic when it comes to when and how they’re spending their money.
So you’re a startup. You’re rich in ideas, but you’re poor in resources with which to actually make those ideas happen. And no matter how much you multitask, delegate and prioritize, chances are you and your team are still facing Sophie’s Choice-style decisions about where to focus your energies—and what to leave by the wayside.
And, if you’re like 99.99% of startup teams out there, that stuff you leave by the wayside drives you nuts.
That feeling—the feeling of working ceaselessly and yet somehow still not making the progress you want to be making, still watching opportunities slip through your fingers and important tasks fall through the cracks—that’s the feeling that’s telling you that it’s time to get a virtual assistant.
Virtual assistants are a great way to add some additional, high-quality bandwidth to your team—without breaking the bank. A good virtual assistant does more than buy your groceries or manage your calendar: they become a seamless member of your team and help drive your company toward its goals. Virtual assistants keep you organized, they keep you focused, they keep you sane. But most importantly: virtual assistants free up your time and your team’s time to work on those truly important projects that are going to make a difference for your company.
“Like every other team member, our VA plays a specific role in our efforts and remains an important piece of the puzzle.”
— Mike del Ponte, CEO & Co-founder, Soma Water
An increasing number of startups are using virtual assistants as a secret weapon to propel their company toward its goals. But while plenty of attention has been paid to the ways that virtual assistants can help busy professionals in their personal lives, there’s been a lot less discussion of how startups can use virtual assistants to drive actual results for their company.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how virtual assistants can become virtual team members, and move the needle for startups in real, actionable ways.