21 Entrepreneurs Explain the CEO Hack They Use to be Effective and Efficient
As an entrepreneur, you have that gadget, habit, app or a book that makes your work easier, motivates you to do more and that’s what we refer to as a CEO Hack. It helps you achieve maximum productivity and stick to your goals regardless of the hurdles we face as entrepreneurs. For instance, it could be a pro tip on managing employees to make the workplace a conducive environment for everyone. Maybe it’s an app that you have which helps you plan and execute tasks on time. It could also be a book that you read and it brings ideas your way on how to scale your business. The list goes on. You can check our CEO Hacks and different entrepreneurs’ CEO Hacks below where we have insightful responses.
#1-Get Stuff Done method
One of my biggest struggles is juggling the many tasks I have swirling inside my head, commitments I have made to others and long term planning. The best hack I discovered to manage this is called the Get Stuff Done method. It involves using a Trello board to manage and store my priorities: One board is dedicated to my quarterly goals to keep me focused. One board is used as my inbox. This is where I put all tasks regardless of priority. One board as my daily to-do list. This is where I take tasks from my inbox and give myself 3 for the entire day to accomplish. One board as my waiting on list. Items from my daily to-do list go here if I am relying on someone else for a deliverable. I used to use a planner to organize my tasks, but found that I would lose sight of the bigger picture. My trello board lets me dump all my thoughts regardless of priority into the inbox board which I sort on a daily basis.
Thanks to Ryan Popoff, Popov Leather!
#2- The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone
My favorite book that I re-read every single month is the 10X Rule by Grant Cardone. It teaches you to 10X your actions – instead of 10 cold calls, make 100. By default, since you did 10X the work, you should reap 10X the rewards. It also teaches you how to 10X your thinking. Chances are, you're thinking too small; only focused on the first million in revenue, or the first brand deal. By being concerned with the first ten million in revenue, or the first A-lister brand deal, you're thinking big and will instinctively match your actions to follow suit.
Thanks to Nathan Sykes, Howdy Interactive!
#3- Listening to podcasts and writing every thought down
My favorite hack is that I listen to podcasts abut leadership, digital marketing and branding, career development and general business while I work out every morning. They give me new, up-to-date and sometimes cutting-edge information. I will get ideas about new business opportunities, ways to improve my businesses and tools to improve my operations. I write every thought and idea down immediately as soon as it hits me. I keep a page open in MS OneNote and I write my notes in that. When I get to the office in the morning I go over the notes and research the ones that need to be researched and implement the ideas I still think are good.
Thanks to Neill Marshall, Health Search Partners!
#4- Talking through and journaling on my mindset
Most setbacks in CEO performance is all mindset based! Determine your weakness… is it your ability to let go, analysis paralysis, fear of being judged, not having enough hours in your day? Work on changing your mindset DAILY on this. For me, I talk through and journal on this EVERY SINGLE DAY! My weakness is sales so I work on turning my belief that selling is scary into sales will help my clients find their own success and better their
Thanks to Caitlin Strempel, CRS Digital!
#5- Time management & scheduling
Keeping track of where you need to be throughout the day, what phone calls to hop on or what time to start diner can often be a challenge when you're not writing things down. I used to keep things in my head until I realized how much more effective it is to write it down now and reference it later. Keeping a small agenda/notebook or utilizing the calendar and reminder apps provided on your phone is a great way to go. You'll be surprised how productive you'll be and how responsible you'll feel.
Thanks to Farrah Lollis, Boss Babe Life Hacks!
#6- Work-life integration
Integration is far easier to achieve than balance. I find it reduces stress, increases productivity, and it’s made me healthier. The world’s idea to conform to Monday to Friday 9-5 with two weeks vacation simply doesn’t work for me. Booking a few days “during working hours” to train at the Crossfit box reduces stress, increases my energy, and surprise, many others training at that time are CEOs who have control over their schedules. Taking time to play with my Grandchildren when they pop-in is priceless. I then have the ability to login later in the evening or the weekend and work. Often when I hit the wall and can’t concentrate, have writer’s block, it’s just time to shut it down, and maybe resume later in the day on my laptop sitting beside my favorite river. Working a couple of hours a day while on extended or multiple trips, vacations, and three-day getaways have been great for creativity, clarity, and innovation. A change of scenery 🙂 A view at Integration vs balance removes the comparison. When you are in the flow of things and really crushing it, keep going. When your energy is low, you're daydreaming, surfing the web, procrastinating, walk away and go do something no work-related that fills you up and gives you energy.
Thanks to Doug Morneau, Marzany Inc.!
#7- Scaling the business with virtual assistants
If you don’t have an assistant, then you are one! Hiring a virtual assistant gave me the time freedom to focus more on things that truly matter – I still consider it as the best business decision I ever made. Not only that having a VA doubled my business exponentially but it also allowed me to spend more quality time with my family without having to worry about important tasks falling through the cracks. If you are serious about scaling your business without sacrificing your personal and family life, you need a VA. You only have 24 hours a day – spend it wisely!
Thanks to Daniel Ramsey, MyOutDesk!
#8- Sticky notes to help prioritize
Each and every day a sticky note runs my day. By that, I mean that at the end of each day, I pause and think about my top five priorities for the next day. I then write down those five priorities in order of importance. The next day I get up and put the sticky note in my shirt pocket. When I get to work I begin with priority number one. I concentrate on priority number one until it gets done. I don’t worry about the other four priorities; my job is to complete priority number one. Once number one is completed I go onto number two, number three, etc. until complete. I don’t get frustrated or upset if I only get priority number one done during a day, because I know there is no other truly effective way to channel my professional energy and expertise. It works like a charm and guaranteed that I’m managing the business in the best possible way and not distracted by smaller issues that others can handle for me.
Thanks to Damian Birkel, Professionals In Transition!
#9- Limiting my availability online
I'm not available online at all times. Instead, I schedule my online presence so that I have thirty uninterrupted minutes three times a day. We live in a world in which we feel pressured to be accessible at all times. It's a pavlovian dystopia, in which instead of bells ringing we get notifications beeping. I used to be extremely responsive, replying instantly to clients and employees. With hundreds of notifications a day, I felt overwhelmed. Constantly available but never present. Giving the people I work scraps of attention. I knew I had to stop. By scheduling my online presence, I can genuinely say I give 100% of my attention to every email and DM. Plus, on my off-time, I'm focused on what I'm doing and the people I work with. It's a win-win for everyone.
Thanks to Dolly Ovadia Nahon, Dazzit!
#10- Two hacks
Historically, through the course of evolution, our species has had irregular eating patterns, and have had to move consistently throughout the day. It is also a popular biohack for longevity, so I have deployed a few practices for my own work. 1. I do intermittent fasting 16-18 hours each day, that has helped me lost over 20 lbs within a 2 month period 2. I got myself a treadmill for my desk and I make it a point to walk at least 2-3 miles every few hours, so in the end, I am doing an average of 10 miles a day, besides my routine daily exercise (if I am able to or even if I'm not). None of these two hacks needs me to do anything outside of my time, that I spend mostly at home, but keeps me sharp, focused and productive. Not to mention the short term (weight loss) and long term (longevity) benefits with literally zero investment of time or money.
Thanks to Sandeep Bansal, Marketing Intelligence Team!
#11- Doing the hardest task first
If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first. The quote is attested to Mark Twain but no one knows for sure. That said, its a penchant for my life ever since I struck out on my own. Being the founder and owner of my business I get to delegate a lot, but there's also a lot of stuff that comes my way. Tasks that are difficult to do. I don't rely on to-do lists (They're a scam). I make a mental note of the hardest, toughest task for the day ahead and get down to it as soon as possible. Also, I make quick decisions. A fast ‘no’ is better than a long-winded no. If you make mistakes there's always a way out. You cannot afford to dwell on decisions.
Thanks to George Mathew, ThinkingNE!
#12- Market analysis
Analyzing the online behavior of our competitors is a daily routine. I want to understand why they may prefer one marketing channel over another, which media they appear in, what language do they use, etc. This helps identify opportunities for us to differentiate Transformify HR Software & Freelance Platform from everyone else and define better our unique selling point (USP). Success is a marathon, not a sprint and it takes perseverance and a clear strategy to achieve your long-term goals.
Thanks to Lilia Stoyanov, Transformify HR Software & Freelance Platform!
#13- Keeping Inbox Zero
This seems to be an unreachable dream. But also it is a nice lifehack for any CEO willing to boost productivity. The number of unread messages in my inbox has been zero for several months. How do I do it? I react to any email I get immediately (unless I’m at a meeting). There are several options I choose from. Option 1: if the email requires my immediate response which will take less than 5 minutes, I do it right away. Option 2: if the email requires more time, I snooze it till the next morning or, if possible, till the date by which my response is absolutely necessary. Option 3: all the emails marked “FYI” I send to the archive. Same works for all the service messages from Gmail or other mail clients. Every day at 7 am and 5 pm I look through all the snoozed emails from the day before. Either I react to them or snooze till the next day. It works great for me.
Thanks to Alex Galkin, Competera!
#14- The highlight strategy
The time-management & prioritization strategies in Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. My favorite among them is ‘the highlight strategy', which directs you to pick two tasks that I must do that day and set them as my highlights. When I get to the office in the morning, I prioritize them instead of digging into my generic to-do list. My highlights tend to be things that are time-sensitive (completing a price-offer for a new client), chores that will unblock tasks for my team (sigh-offs, hiring decisions), or things I've wanted to do for weeks but never got to (personal development, updating internal systems, etc.). I've found that after I complete one or both of my highlights for the day I feel generally inspired and more productive the rest of the day. I also get to have calmer evenings at home with my daughters, knowing that I got the important stuff done, and that I have an effective way to get stuff done the next day.
Thanks to Pavlina Borisova-Bensen, IzpSoft.com!
#15- Talent Management
A recent survey showed CEOs rank Talent Management as more important than Customer Management or Financial Management. Don't cut corners when it comes to implementing a Talent Management Platform. Integrate one which covers all the bases of recruitment, on-boarding, and adaptation as you grow. If you can acquire and retain elite talent, your business will be able to manage customers and finances effectively.
Thanks to Vinay Amin, Eu Natural!
#16- Minimize email communication
I do everything in my power to minimize email communication. We use Monday dot com for task & project management with messages attributed to particular tasks, we have created whatsapp groups for each of our clients so that we can get a far more prompt answer than by email and if someone emails me (and it requires a response) I will pick up the phone to speak to them (unless the email requires a very simple single word response) as usually with email you end up going backwards and forwards for a while. I have freed up 2 hours per day from my schedule having an email inbox that I only have to check a few times a day!
Thanks to Chris Avery, Chrave Technology!
Automation is the best CEO hack. I automate every task that is possible to automate without a decrease in performance. I pay extra for any service that will automate tasks that take up time, I’d rather set it and forget it then spend time thinking about a task. A good example of this the extra amount of money I pay for premium hosting services so I don’t have to worry about manually backing up websites or scanning for malware.
Thanks to Gary Stevens, Hosting Canada!
#18- Working remotely
I’ve been running my company for almost 12 years now and I can say that it’s achieved an admirable level of success. We have been doing pretty well in the past, but there is one hack that made all the difference and I only started using it in the past two years or so. The entire team in my company works remotely and has flexible working hours. Everyone gets their tasks for the upcoming week and they have full freedom from that point on. They can do their work when they want and from wherever they want. That way, I don’t force anyone to come to the office and work whenever I want them to. Instead, people can work whenever they perform at their best. As a result, all my employees are happier, productivity has shot through the roof and we’ve noticed an increase in sales every month. However, there’s a lot of risk involved because you have to know how your employees work and how much time and effort it takes to complete a certain task. If you assign them too much or too little work, all your effort will go in vain. However, after several years spent running the company, I have a pretty good grip in workload and this arrangement is ideal for us.
Thanks to Adam Hempenstall, Better Proposals!
#19- Flip phone
I still have a flip phone – and that's what I use. It allows me to be fully engaged with whatever I'm doing and I don't get distracted by a smart phone. I truly believe this helps me stay focused, attentive and allows me to achieve goals and be successful.
Thanks to Michael Stahl, HealthMarkets!
#20- Hiring much better people
There’s a well known saying in business – “be the dumbest person in the room”. I try to live by this philosophy in business by hiring people that are so much better at their job than I ever was. By surrounding myself with people like this, I can have confidence in their judgement and trust their decisions, avoiding the temptation to micromanage or second guess them.
Thanks to Sam Orchard, Edge of the Web!
#21- Book- How Exceptional CEO’s Do More In Less Time
This book made a big difference in how I saw my business. Yeah, I read the EMyth and the other classics but something about this book got me to begin focusing on what is truly important to growing my business, delegating more and saying no a lot more. Recommend this one to any entrepreneur that feels like they are constantly doing everything.
Thanks to Jeff Lizik, RedShift!