49 Productivity Hacks for the Most Successful Entrepreneurs

This is a collection of hacks- some of them are specifically Joumor principles, the philosophy that I teach entrepreneurs and CEO’s (many of whom have ADD and ADHD).

  1. Drink more water than you think you need

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An oldie but goodie- drink more water. I just drank a glass of water after writing that. It’s not original, but we need reminders. The goal of most of us is to be in flow- that state of creativity and movement and things happening. Start the flow happening in your own body.

  1. Declutter your environment

You’ve heard this before- do I need to write that people spend an average of 6 minutes per day looking for their keys alone? Decluttering means having only the things you need and want around you in a way that you can access them and put them away easily. Decluttering affects everything- from your experience of being in the space, how you respond to others, and how much darn time you do or DO NOT WASTE looking for your stuff.

  1. Examine your relationships and make the most of them

Some people add to us and others take away. Put energy into the ones that feel good, and release the hold on the ones that don’t. It is a tremendous waste of time and an impediment to productivity to be obsessively thinking about someone else and how good it DOESN’T feel.

  1. Matroshyka the task

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Break the task down into the smallest possible parts. In Joumor, the philosophy that I teach, there are 2 simple reasons why we avoid completing tasks:

  1. We haven’t stood up for ourselves
  2. We need information

When you break the task down (matroshyka it) you will get to the heart of the matter. Use that information to take action in an understanding and neutral way. You’ll be surprised how much more energy you have.

  1. Review your schedule the night before AND in the morning

It’s amazing how quickly things change. Whether it’s because your appointment cancelled or because you find you have more or less energy than expected, the more you check in with yourself the better able you will be to maximize your productivity.

  1. Confirm your appointments

You may be perfect but the rest of us aren’t. People forget or run late or G-d forbid DO have emergencies. You will appear confident, relaxed and organized when you send a text or email during work hours the day before confirming time and address of your meeting and save yourself lots of wasted time if they reschedule then rather than while you’re waiting at their office and they’re not there.

  1. Schedule out your whole year

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The whole year, are you kidding? Nope. It can be done, I’m serious.

My family’s Jewish, and whenever someone will say last minute, “Oh, I can’t because of the holiday…” my mother will mutter, “You’ve only known that for 5,000 years!” The point is, there are many things you DO know- graduations, vacation time, birthdays, conferences- begin by scheduling everything you know you know, and you will find two things:

  1. You can schedule more than you realized
  2. You have some clear questions you need to ask others about your plans this year

Now, please note, the point of scheduling the year is so you can be flexible– if a wedding comes up that you didn’t know about, you’ll now be able to RESCHEDULE your appointments rather than being totally confused.

  1. Create odd limitations to thrive

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Dr. Seuss’s most famous success of all time, Green Eggs and Ham, was written on a bet that he couldn’t do write a book using 50 words or less. He won, big time.

Set your timer for 3, 5, 7, or 9 minutes to get a task done. You can go as high as 19 minutes but keep it an odd small number so it finishes relatively quickly. If you decide to repeat it, it should feel like a fun game.

  1. Make your decisions in the morning or the night before

Decision fatigue means your brain (prefrontal cerebral cortex) literally gets tired from overuse in the day. It can make you less empathetic, confused, and mean. Make your decisions in the morning and spend the rest of the day simply taking action.

Ever see a woman change her outfit twenty times in a movie, or take 20 minutes to order her meal? (I used to be that woman). Decide what you will wear and eat the night before. This saves unbelievable amounts of brainpower.

  1. Automate yourself

Figure out what you need to do when: daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. Schedule it and take out the guesswork. (See #7).

  1. Start with the easiest thing first

Contrary to popular productivity literature, starting with the easiest thing first means you’ll get a jolt of dopamine from your success, which will make it easier to do the next task. Set yourself up to move from success to success to success.

  1. Do preventative maintenance

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Whether it’s your body, your car, or your teeth, things need regular maintenance that you can easily schedule in advance. Don’t worry if you have to reschedule them later- think about what needs to be done and schedule them now.

  1. Schedule the same thing 2-3 times

Adding in new things can be tricky when you’re a busy person. Put the appointment in 2-3 times so you know it will happen. If it happens the first time, you win- you have 2 more blocks of free time.

  1. Limit email scheduling

Instead of going back and forth, send 2-3 days AND times you can meet:

“I’m available Tuesday June 28th between 2-5pm EST to meet at ______ on the corner of _______ and _______” or simply pick up the phone and make your date.

  1. Know when your subscriptions run out, including transportation

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Avoid getting stopped at the turnstile, fined at the tollbooth, or suddenly not having access to something you need. Keep track of when your subscriptions need renewing and plan ahead.

  1. Eat the same thing every morning

See #9 and #10. Ok, it doesn’t have to be the same thing, but if you want to get fancy, get a chef. Otherwise, make it as easy on yourself as possible.

  1. Spend time getting the right shoes

Pain is clutter. It takes up time and interferes with you being present in any situation, because you are distracted by the pain…AND IT HURTS. Invest in getting the right shoes so no matter what you have to do you won’t be suffering for fashion.

  1. Eat regularly- Plan for your blood sugar

Your body is the horse and your productivity and creativity are the rider. If the horse isn’t healthy and strong, nobody’s going anywhere. Eat regularly in a way that is good for you.

  1. Learn to handle your emotions

As valid as your rage or mortification may be, it’s also interfering with your productivity. Have awareness of what you are responsible for and own it. As for the rest, get a therapist, talk to your friends, play sports, scream in the woods…whatever it takes to deal with it, DO IT.

  1. Schedule time for self-care

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Check your thyroid, adrenals, hormones and sleep quality. Make sure you are functioning optimally. You should sleep easily through the night and wake up in a good mood full of energy. If you’re not, DO something about it, and Get Enough Rest.

  1. Make time to read or, gasp, watch tv

Our brains really do need to relax. Let them. I personally don’t watch tv…because when I do, 6 hours suddenly go by. It’s just that vegging out-ish! So whatever your veg out choice, make sure you do it in a way that is pleasurable and is also conscious so it doesn’t also end up taking 6 hours instead of 1 or 2.

  1. Don’t multitask- UNITASK

Woman or not, there’s no such thing as multitasking. I specialize in ADD and ADHD and have spent a good 10,000 hours simply watching people. It cannot be done. Both things being done are slowed. Do one thing at a time and you’ll do them both faster and better.

  1. Maximize “internal” tasking

Put the laundry in, then the coffee, then make your breakfast and and eat it. Or read on the train to work. Internal tasking is when you are doing something while another task is being completed without your attention on it. The more you can set yourself up with these internal tasks, the more efficient you’ll become.

  1. Multiply your estimates for good time planning

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Depending on the distance or duration, I have my students multiply 2-3 times as long as they need to get places and then balance that with what feels realistic. Things can come up. They always do. Leave extra time.

  1. Enter ALL appointment details and resources immediately

Seriously. It takes less than a minute, but to do it later when you’re in a rush and you realize you haven’t it can take what feels like forever.

  1. Keep up with tracking

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Write down your expenditures as you go, like #25. It takes much more time to reconstruct later. The power and magic in doing this cannot be emphasized enough. Do it for 3 months and see what happens!

  1. Have a working printer

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There’s no such thing as paperless. You will inevitably need to print something out or someone you know will. Have a printer, ink and paper on hand. Simple and cheap is fine, but have one.

  1. Backup, backup, backup

Nothing saps your energy like a technology breakdown or theft. Make sure everything you own is backed up on your computer, a hard drive AND the cloud- Icloud or Dropbox or whatever. Back your stuff up on at least 2 physical places that are not in the same location and on one virtual one.

  1. Schedule novelty

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Why are those entrepreneurs so fascinating AND successful? Because they are always doing new things which make their brains more fertile for creativity to thrive. This is different from #29 in that it might not be your passion, but you schedule time to walk to work a different, longer, more beautiful way. Novelty is good for you AND your brain.

  1. Schedule unscheduled time with friends and/or family

Many of my clients feel guilty about how little time they spend with their families…and when they are with them it’s events or driving to classes, etc. Pick one evening a week or one whole day with no plans to just enjoy each other.

  1. Listen carefully

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Good listeners are respected and appreciated. And misunderstandings are huge time wasters. Let people finish their sentences. Count to 10 before you say anything in case they have more to say. Confirm you’ve understood them. Remember, it takes us years to learn to talk, and good verbal communication doesn’t come naturally to most people. The better listener you are, the more efficiently you’ll be able to process and respond to what people are telling you.

  1. Stop B*!!$**^@&*G yourself

You know when you don’t like someone and when you’re really not going to do something. Admit it. Save yourself tons of time by setting yourself up to win. If you’re not going to finish the draft on Wednesday, admit it. This will make your nervous system much more able to support you finishing it Thursday.

  1. Be honest with others

Right, if you’re not going to finish it Wednesday, be in integrity and tell everyone the truth that it will be done on Thursday. Be someone who is straight and reliable. Be in integrity with your word and your efficiency AND reputation will thrive.

  1. Keep a change of clothes handy

Even if you don’t drink coffee, someone else can spill it on you. Plus, you might get invited to a super important meeting or a sudden trip- have another wardrobe option ready so you can always say yes.

  1. Review your expenditures weekly

Many of us are out of touch with our spending. Successful people know what’s going on. Get conscious and get regular. Regularity is where the magic AND savings are.

  1. Embrace electronic sundown*

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*One of my classes almost had a riot when I introduced this idea: no electronics 3 hours before bedtime or you are hurting yourself. I know, I know, it feels almost impossible to turn off our cell phones! But is it easier to function in the day after a sleepless insomniac night? Obviously not. So let your brain and your body relax before you go to bed and watch your whole life change.

  1. Put your phone away

Studies have shown that people’s serotonin levels and empathy decrease when there is even a cell phone sitting on the table with you. We are literally and emotionally distracted. Remember #22? Even if it’s on vibrate, your phone is making you multitask and that’s no good.

  1. Have more sex

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You become a healthier person hormonally AND get exercise AND connect when you have sex, even if it’s with yourself. Since the goal is to be functioning as optimally as possible, why not go for it? Plus your relationship will thank you. 😉

  1. Look at nature, be in nature

Studies show that nature makes us better students and workers. Find a way to look at and be in nature, even if only for 15 minutes a day.

  1. Vision

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Successful entrepreneurs already do this, and you can, too. Spend 2-9 minutes 6 days a week visioning what you want. Set a timer. You’ll increase your clarity, brain control, and manifestation of your desires.

  1. Have an assistant at least 2 hours a week

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Set up time to work with someone you are paying on a regular basis. Work with him/her on the things you don’t enjoy or could use another mind. Contribute to the economy and practice the art of delegation at the same time.

  1. Get everywhere a half hour early

This one is really hard and I know it sounds insane. But what you’ll find is that when you aim to be a half hour early, you are either even earlier and can really do something in a calm way or you still barely make it on time. Spending the time to schedule yourself this way will help you naturally prioritize what really matters and what’s really possible.

  1. Quantity not quality

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Whaaaa? Think about it. What’s better- a 2 hour workout every 2 weeks or a half hour every week? Duh. No matter what you’re doing, doing it with regularity will wield better results.

  1. Write things down with an actual pen and paper

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Studies show writing helps your brain. Whether it’s journaling or writing your to-do list, spending a few minutes with a pen and paper is good for you.

  1. There is no such thing as “Just Do It”

Many people believe they “just need to do” whatever thing they’ve been avoiding. It’s not so simple: either there are more steps involved (see #4) or doing that thing requires a revamping- your time, your space, the people you work with…if you haven’t done it until now, forcing yourself just this once might work, but it’s not a long-term strategy. See what smaller changes you need to put in place so you can do this task easily now and in the future.

  1. Preparation prevents panicking 

This should be self-explanatory. The more you prepare the less you’ll freak out when something unexpected happens, which it inevitably does. So, tracking your expenses (#26, #35) means you might not feel like you’re in hell when you suddenly get audited.

  1. Ask for help

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Whether you need someone to sit with you (see #41) or do the task for you, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Vulnerability expert Brene Brown is right, it is worth it to be vulnerable and ask, even if not everyone rushes to your aid. When you ask for help, you are actually giving a little gift to someone who has the opportunity to help you. And you don’t have to do it alone, which is always much better for us humans.

  1. Hire the expert

Admitting you can’t do it alone is realistic and powerful. Be willing to pay for what you need. Remember- you’re a successful entrepreneur- everything you spend is an investment in your successful business.

  1. Business is personal

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As an entrepreneur, YOU are your business. It’s your vision that’s being created, so your physical and mental health are super important. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally, and keep growing- the world is waiting for more of your genius.

Click here to download a printable PDF of 49 Productivity Hacks for the Most Successful Entrepreneurs (List)

Joumor is joy plus humor. It is the feeling we arrive at when we deal with things we have been avoiding, like paying our taxes, turning in that late project, or having that hard conversation. Joumor is a methodology that helps clients and students find their personalized method of productivity Inside their anxiety, misery and self-doubt.

Leah Fisch helps her clients and students tailor their productivity to their own needs, no matter the project, by helping them be the productive people they know they are inside.

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