Businesses combine a lot of different systems to manage daily tasks. Some are legacy systems. Others were abandoned not long after they were introduced. Some are processes or programs your peers raved about, saying that the systems would simply solve any number of headaches.
Their best answers are below:
1. Lengthy Meetings
I believe there is a time and place for meetings, which can be an important productivity tool. But I’ve found that the traditional long and frequent meetings do nothing except make employees bored and waste time for the whole team. That’s why I sparsely use them. When I do, I make sure they’re less than 10 minutes long and get right to the point for maximum productivity. – Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital
I hate email! It’s a time suck that’s impossible to keep organized. It’s still a necessary evil, but I try to minimize my time on email in favor of other systems like Slack and Trello. – Ben Lee, Neon Roots
3. Getting Things Done
The one overrated productivity system that I’m not longer using is the practice of “getting things done” or what’s commonly known as GTD. I found it next to impossible to keep up with the countless lists, organizational structure and other sub-details I had to keep track of on a daily—sometimes hourly—basis. At this point in my life, it’s easier to make a simple list and just “get things done.” – Jeff Slobotski, Router Ventures
I was a huge Evernote supporter for a very long time and sold many people on it, but officially ditched it earlier this year. Reasons why? It’s bloated, expensive—free plan now has sync limitations and a small upload limit—and has privacy issues. It’s tough to use software that throws all three of those at you at once, which is what has happened with Evernote during the past few months. – Andrew Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings
When I stopped using a CRM, I focused on the top 20 percent of my opportunities, because I couldn’t reliably track the whole pipeline. As a result, I spend time with the larger deals and build deeper relationships. Not only do I waste zero time on small deals, but I’ve closed almost 100 percent of the bigger opportunities since making the switch. Deeper relationships, not a broader pipeline, have done wonders. – Brennan White, Cortex
6. Checking Messages in Batches
At first, when I read about productivity tips that tell you to only check email and social media in batches, I thought it was a good idea. But I’ve found that, in practice, it’s too rigid to use that kind of system. While you do have to avoid getting overly distracted by email, phone calls and social media, if you’re a business owner, you also want to get crucial information in a timely manner. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
7. Task and Hour Tracking
For a while, I test-drove a few systems that tracked the amount of time I spent on various tasks. I found this helpful in the beginning, but then realized that the data didn’t really change because my patterns are fairly ingrained. Then, I found myself over-analyzing my day and sometimes making adjustments in the service of productivity that ended up negatively impacting it. – Alexandra Levit, PeopleResults
A few years ago, I realized that juggling multiple tasks at the same time wasn’t efficient. It was stressful and I didn’t give any one task the attention it deserved. Today, I’m a committed single-tasker. I focus on one thing at a time, giving my full attention to what I’m doing and trying to avoid needless context switching. I find I’m more relaxed, and the end result is invariably better. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting
9. To-Do Lists
Focusing only on what you need to get done does not guarantee that you’re actually getting ahead. To do lists can make you feel busy and you can get satisfaction from checking off a series of tasks. But have you ever crossed off everything on your list and still felt like you had not really accomplished anything? There is a big difference between movement and achievement. – Anthony Davani, The Davani Group Inc.
10. 20-Minute Tasks
I don’t actually get as much as I’d like done in these 20-minute cycles that are recommended for improving productivity. Instead, it makes me feel pressured and rushed. Instead, I work in 50-55 minute increments and then take 15-minute breaks. This is a better timeframe for me personally because I still have a limit, but it’s not so short. – Peter Daisyme, Due
11. Microsoft Office
Local files are quickly displaying their lack of value in today’s workplace. With the advent of online productivity tools such as Google Docs, working with independent files and sharing them by email is a thing of the past. Multiple file versions, the difficulty of working together and the costs associated with purchasing licenses is making Microsoft Office a tool that is no longer useful. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors
12. Social Media Site Blockers
Many people use plugins to disable Facebook news feed, Reddit forums and Twitter feeds during the day. However, I’ve found that I needed to access those sites during the day for business reasons and removing these blockers ultimately decreased my productivity. Having more self-control and strict deadlines were better methods to stay productive. – Adelyn Zhou, TOPBOTS
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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