What are the best productivity hacks of startup CEOs?

Answer by Matt DeCelles:

Here are some of my favorite hacks and tools.

First off, it's a 2 step process.

Prioritization Stage
1. Prioritize the most important task you need to get done (often the one you are putting off) It is critical to set objectives before working. – A great book on this topic is Eat That Froghttp://amzn.to/auq0Nf
2. Use Trello.com to map out all of the tasks of the company. This gives a macro view of whats going on and allows you to delegate tasks that may better be completed by another person. AgileZen.com Asana.com kanbanflow.com  are other great Task Management options.
Delegation can be one of your best productivity tools!

3. Delegate (LIKE A BOSS) – When you enjoy what you do you will find yourself being much more productive. If you really suck at doing something, chances are there is someone out there that can probably do it for less than $5/hr. Check out Fiverr.com Elance.com ODesk.com etc etc…
Slow clap it out for globalization.

4. Use a whiteboard to list all of the tasks that are mine to accomplish. After looking at Trello and delegating out tasks, I put mine on a white board. Usually this is 10-15 tasks.

*You could also use Evernote or a notepad, but i prefer the whiteboard.

4. Use a post-it note to record the 3 most important things I can do on that particular day. The post-it note beneficial because it has a size constraint.

Ok now the fun part.

Execution Stage
1. Set iPhone in Do Not Disturb Mode– New feature in iOS 6 that turns off vibrate and all sounds.

1.5 Set Mac in Do Not Disturb Mode (OSX Mountain Lion) – Pull out the Notification Center on the Mac and scroll up. There is a hidden switch that allows you to shut off Alerts and Banners.

*Notifications resume automatically the next day in case you forget to turn it back on.

2. Remove temptations with Self Control. SelfControl is a tool that blocks websites you have listed as distracting for a set period of time. Once you set it, there is no way to shut it off until the time expires…which makes you feel like an addict going through withdrawals.  As you notice distractions, be sure to add them to your blacklist.

3. Use Rescue Time to track your productivity. – Install RescueTime on your computer and it measures how much time you spend doing particular activities. You then designate whether those activities are productive or not.  It also emails you with a productivity summary for the week.  This will show how much time you spend on Facebook or Youtube per week.

*This only needs to be installed once.

4. Use Toggl to track individual task time – Start a task and start the timer. Its shocking to look back on your day and see that it took 10 minutes to send one email etc.
*Note* I am not recommending using Toggl all day everyday as it requires too much work and dedication. Use it occasionally to get a picture of where your day goes, both online and offline. It will be eye opening…I promise.  www.toggl.com

5. Take a break when you are not being productive anymore. – For me I have a really short attention span, and I notice a significant fall off in productivity after about an hour or so of work. Take a break. Go for a walk, do something else. etc…. then get back to work!

6. Listen to music – Not all music is the same when it comes to being productive. Try out different genres of music and see what works for you. *For me I like music with very few lyrics and has a repetitive beat that gets me almost in a productive trance. aka Deadmau5 and house music.

7. Use VIP Inbox on iOS 6 – Set up your VIPs (be very selective) and only check those emails. Batch the rest.

8. Batch Your Email (When people are unlikely to respond right away) – Email is one of the biggest time wasters. Stay away unless it is absolutely critical to your previously set objectives.

Remember that the more emails you send throughout the day, the more you receive. It's a vicious cycle.

*I batch emails at night or early in the morning when people are less likely to respond right away. It is amazing how fast you can blow through a few hundred emails when you are not replying to instant responses and can move on to other tasks.

9. Add "sent from my iPhone" to all email accounts signatures – This way people don't get upset with you for keeping your emails brief and getting right to the point.

What are the best productivity hacks of startup CEOs?


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