6 Expert Tips to Supercharge Productivity


Getting things done efficiently isn’t just about working harder, it’s about working smarter. A recent article I read by one of my favorite columnists, Ilya Pozin, got me thinking about productivity. A lot of entrepreneurs simply don't know how to be productive. They think juggling a bunch of tasks simultaneously is saving them time. It's not. I asked a few friends and co-workers what they do to supercharge their productivity. Here's what they came up with: 

1. Stop Multitasking

You’re not Superman and you never will be. Trying to do too many things at one time will drastically reduce your productivity. Sharí Alexander, co-founder of Expert Message Group, says, “Many of the tasks we try to juggle are merely distractions that are disguised as important. Define what your number one priority is and don’t divert your attention to anything else.”

2. Remove All Distractions

Humans are biologically hardwired to be susceptible to distractions. We literally get a shot of dopamine every time we’re pulled in another direction. Chuck Rylant, author of How to be Rich: The Couple's Guide to a Rich Life Without Worrying About Money, says the first step in removing distractions is to create a clear distinction between work and play. “When you’re working you should remove any distractions that are slowing you down, which means sign out of Facebook, put the cell phone away, and lock the door if you have to.” Same goes off the clock. “When you’re playing, it’s equally important to eliminate anything related to work.”

3. Pick Up The Phone

Not to hate on technology or anything, but after a few back and forth texts or emails, it’s safe to say you should have just picked up the phone and called the person. Shawn Graham, a top marketing and brand strategist, says, “The biggest benefit of using the phone for a conversation in the business world is being able to get to know the person without having to rely on frowny face emoticons.” It’s also far less time consuming. “Unless you’re an Olympic Gold Medalist on the keyboard, a brief email exchange will almost always take longer than a quick chat over the phone.”

4. Micro-Manage Yourself

Nobody likes being micro-managed by someone else, but micro-managing yourself is a highly effective way to boost productivity. Doug Tetzner, Shopify's head of Talent Acquisition, says you should create a list of everything you need to do on a given day. “Break everything down into digestible chunks that can be done in under an hour, and add some rough instructions on how to get it done – the more specific the better.” Luckily there are productivity tool like the 10x Journal, designed to help you do this. You can use the 10x Journal to write down these tasks and track your progress to stay on track.

5. Don't Be A Perfectionist

Harley Finkelstein, Chief Platform Officer at Shopify, says, “It’s more important to act quickly and pivot often as opposed to waiting to get every detail perfect. Obsessing over perfection can often slow you down.” That’s not to say you should start producing mediocre work – just be sure that your strive for perfection isn’t acting as a barrier to execution. “You need to distinguish what requires impeccable results and what doesn’t – then prioritize accordingly.”

6. Cut Tasks Into Small Chunks

Working nonstop isn’t productive – it’s stupid. Eric Papp, author of upcoming book Leadership by Choice, says working on a specific task in 20-minute intervals is more productive because it encourages you to focus on what’s most important. “It gives you a greater degree of focus because you have limited time, and you’ll find yourself wanting to go back and do more as opposed to being burned out.” It’s also important to take breaks throughout the day. “It’s easy to reach the saturation point, so step away from what you’re doing and take a few minutes to recharge your batteries.”


Also see: 8 Tips For Highly Productive Entrepreneurs