Learn lessons from the world’s smartest and most-successful entrepreneurs on productivity, so you can emulate their success and ability to set priorities.
If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about working smarter, not harder, it’s successful entrepreneurs. As VentureBeat puts it, “when everything is a priority, how do you maximize productivity?” We’ve curated some of our favorite lessons on focus and prioritization from the world’s best entrepreneurs:
Lesson #1: Be Ready to Evolve
Marc Benioff, Founder of Salesforce
Terms like “pivot,” and “nimble” are thrown around often in the world of startups, perhaps too casually. It’s often easy for company with less than 10 employees to quickly change focus and direction, but much harder when a startup begins to grow. One of the world’s most-successful entrepreneurs, Marc Benioff, remains at the top due to his ability to shift direction without looking back. LiveOffice CEO Nick Mehta writes in Forbes that each pivot “further cements” Salesforce’s position, which is why their competition is left behind. As a result, Gartner predicts that his company will become the leading provider of customer relationship software this year.
Lesson #2: Destroy Interruptions
Jason Fried, Founder of 37Signals and author of Rework
37Signals has built a product that stands out from the competition, and Fried has explained his thoughts on productivity in detail on their company blog. He’s a firm believer that productivity isn’t a random occurrence, but it’s a process that can take people “15 minutes or a half hour…or more” to get into. As a result, minimal interruptions are an integral part of 37Signals’ culture code. Text messages are encouraged over phone calls or emails, and working individually is promoted over meetings.
Lesson #3: Develop Laser-Sharp Focus
Maren Kate, Founder of Zirtual and author of Escaping the 9 to 5 Blog
When asked in a recent interview what she would tell a younger version of herself if she could travel through time, Kate responded with that she would “focus on one thing at a time. Be insanely persistent..[and] change rapidly in order to reach that end goal.” Research by scientists at UC Irvine and the US Army has found even checking email continuously throughout the workday can reduce productivity. Making a point to eliminate distractions whenever possible can increase efficiency.
Lesson #4: Risk More
Alex Lawrence, author of Startup Flavor
Lawrence advises young entrepreneurs to “risk more, but do less.” It’s not about how many ideas and concepts you can manage to cram into a single work day, but focusing your time towards the tasks with the highest potential payoff. Prioritize your time, because it’s the most-valuable, non-renewable resource you have.
Lesson #5: Set Boundaries
Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot Marketing Automation Founder, and On Startups author
Shah makes no apologies for the fact that he won’t answer his phone if you call him, writing on his blog that he’s “sorry, but I don’t take phone calls. I hate them. My aversion borders on the pathological.” It’s rer a decision he’s reached after 5 years at the helm of one of America’s fastest-growing companies. Shah has realized that he simply doesn’t have time for small talk. Determine where your boundaries lie, and make no apologies for enforcing them.
We’ve all experienced the moment where we’re facing a mounting pile of work and a dozen tasks that can’t be ignored. The key to producing as efficiently as Shah, Benioff, and Fried is simply developing the ability to set priorities, and delegate.
What is your secret of productivity? Did you try any of the lessons listed above? I’m all ears! Share your comments below.
Helen Nesterenko is the founder of Writtent.com. She enjoys helping businesses their customers and prospects will love.