14 Time-Saving Productivity Hacks From Successful Entrepreneurs

Night fell hours ago, and you’re tired. You’ve put in another long day at work — with multiple meetings, emails, and the odd break to check your social media — but it doesn’t feel like you got as much accomplished as you wanted. You know that being an entrepreneur requires dedication and hard work, but you also know that there has to be a better way to do this.
So how do you find more hours or, more realistically, how do you better use the ones you have?
Below, 14 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council share their recommendations, including organizing your priorities, blocking off downtime, and embracing delegation. Here’s what they suggest:


1. Phrase Things in Terms of Priority 

There is not enough time to do everything you want. Changing your language can help you decide where you want to focus. Instead of saying, “I did not have time for that,” instead say, “I did not make that a priority.” This simple tweak will make you realize your true priorities. Didn’t spend time with your family? You decided not to make them a priority. Suddenly, distractions are unacceptable. – Douglas HutchingsPicasolar


2. Block Out Time for Your Most Pressing Tasks

I block out a few hours a day to complete my most pressing tasks. In this time, I allow no interruptions (unless it’s an emergency): no social media, no phone calls, no meetings. It’s incredible how much you can get done when you’re focused. – Renato LibricBouxtie Inc


3. Learn to Delegate 

It took me a long time to get comfortable with delegation. I wanted to be involved in everything that happened in my business. But I soon discovered that’s bad for the entrepreneur and for the business. Leaders have a specific role as planners, policymakers, and long-term thinkers. Hire great people to handle the work that isn’t part of the leadership role, and you’ll find enough time. – Vik PatelFuture Hosting


4. Avoid Social Media 

I can’t tell you how many times I have had meetings or calls pushed back because the person was busy or swamped, yet I can see they have been posting on social media. It’s such a time-suck. If you are using it to network, fine, but it’s crushing your productivity if you are sharing memes and funny videos. Check social media when you stretch or rest your eyes. Disable it when you are in work mode. – Jonathan LongSexy Smile Kit


5. Use Bullet Journaling 

I’m an avid journaler. With that being said, I recently discovered bullet journaling, and it seemed like a simple (and doable) enough concept. Little did I know that it would change everything. Bullet journaling helps you become accountable for any commitments (or ideas) that you have. You can also re-prioritize the things you didn’t manage to complete. – Cody McLainSupportNinja


6. Let Your Inbox Be Strictly Work-Related 

As a business owner, I find that one of the biggest time-consuming tasks during my workday is keeping my inbox under control. As a result, I am aggressive at keeping a clean and highly relevant inbox. Immediately unsubscribe from newsletters or emails that are not work-related. Keep personal communications on other platforms. Let your inbox be strictly work-related, and your productivity will rise. – Diego OrjuelaCables & Sensors


7. Ask Yourself If You Need to Send That Message 

Did you really need to send that message? Could you have merged those three emails to Sally into one? For every email you decide not to send, you’re saving yourself writing time, sorting time and reading time. Question your email habits for a week, and time you save can really add up. – Sam SaxtonParagon Stairs


8. Block Off Your Mental Prime Time 

Identify when you are the most productive and focus on the tasks that are the highest priority to complete during that time. To do so, eliminate distractions — such as calls and emails — and instead use the time you are at your mental best to accomplish your most important tasks. – Doug BendBend Law Group, PC


9. Write Things Down 

Write things down and free up working memory. I found that I used to spend a lot of time trying to remember what I had to do for the rest of the day. Even for someone on a manager’s schedule (nevermind a creative one), it adds up to a lot of mental load. Find a to-do list and note-taking app that you don’t hate using and stick to it. – Hongwei Liumappedin


10. Focus On One Thing at a Time 

We all have the same amount of time in a day, what matters is how you use it. I focus on one task at hand at a time. Multitasking will wipe out your productivity. Focus on what is the most pressing task, complete it, and then move on to the next. By doing this, you will find there are more than enough hours in a day to do what needs to get done. – Abhilash PatelRecovery Brands


11. Schedule Downtime 

If you are able to schedule time on your calendar for menial tasks like social media or emails, you’re more likely to control your day. Throughout my day, I allow myself 15 minutes either between meetings or through highly intensive tasks to remove the itch of temptation of doing work that isn’t urgent. This is important, as having scheduled downtime during the day will allow you to feel fulfilled. – Kenny NguyenBig Fish Presentations


12. Stop Clockwatching 

Looking at what time it is develops this fear, so work within the bounds of what you need to do rather than putting it to a clock. The more I use a time tracker and stopwatch to do the clockwatching for me, the more I actually get done. There’s no panic involved, and that often is what slows you down. – Murray NewlandsSighted


13. Work During Fixed Hours 

It’s easy to have the 24 hours of the day blend together when you’re an entrepreneur. Every hour spent not working feels like an opportunity squandered. However, I’ve learned that I am most productive when I decide I have a fixed number of hours to work during the day. This forces me to operate at my highest levels of productivity to ensure I have adequate work-life balance. – Firas KittanehAmerisleep


14. Remember That There Is Always Tomorrow 

I don’t recommend procrastinating on anything important, but what I do propose is that you have a good work-life balance. Get the important or time-sensitive work done today. It’s OK to forward other items ahead in your calendar. I have an ongoing task sheet where I check off important items in a timely matter, and forward less important tasks to the next day or even days later. – Andy KaruzaFenSens


The answers above are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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