3 successful Startup CEOs were asked about their favorite productivity hack –...

3 successful Startup CEOs were asked about their favorite productivity hack – Here’s what they have to say!


.1. Dustin Moskovitz, Co-founder of Facebook, Co-Founder of Asana, and World’s Youngest Self-made billionaire.

“One of my favorite hacks is No Meeting Wednesdays, which we borrowed from Facebook. With very few exceptions, everyone’s calendar is completely clear at least one day out of the week. Whether you are Maker or a Manager, this is an invaluable tool for ensuring you have some contiguous space to do project work. For me personally, it is often the one day each week I get to code.

You can read more about the No Meeting Wednesdays here.”


2. Auren Hoffman, CEO of LiveRamp. Started and sold 5 companies.

1. Doing fewer things:
The biggest mistake most CEOs make is that they try to do too much.  The real winners are the ones that do fewer things … but do them great.  Of course, this is not just true for CEOs — it is true for everyone.

2. Do not to multitask — do tasks in series, not parallel:
Be totally focused on the thing you are doing while you are doing it.  Do not multitask.  If you find yourself reading emails in a meeting, then you probably should not be in the meeting (or the meeting needs to be run better).

If you are working on a task (like reading a legal document), mentally allocate time to only devote to that task (like 20 minutes).  During that block, do not do anything else.  If you finish early, you can reward yourself with doing something else but only if you finish early.

3. Do fewer things — say “no” to almost everything:
When you are a CEO, you often have lots of interesting opportunities.  As you become more successful, the opportunities become more and more interesting.  Do not fall into the trap of of saying “yes” to most things.  Ruthlessly decide whether an you should attend a meeting you were invited to.  Same with parties, conferences, speaking engagements, internal presentations, and more.

A good CEO is probably saying “no” to 90% of the opportunities that she is presented with.  Yes, 90%.  And these are likely all things that seem interesting and fun.  But you need to be ruthless with your time.

3. Matt DeCelles, Co-Founder of William Painter

.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.
    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.comAsana.comkanbanflow.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.comElance.comODesk.com etc.

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.
5. 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.

Now, comes the fun part.

  • Execution Stage:
    1. Set iPhone(or whatever phone you have) in Do Not Disturb Mode.

    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.

    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.

    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. 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.




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