CEO Hack

30 Entrepreneurs Explain the CEO Hack That Makes Them Successful

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- The habit of weekly planning

Photo Credit: Lisa Michaud

Weekly planning is hands down the biggest thing that has made me successful in the last decade, and especially as the leader of two businesses. Life moves fast and in today’s day and age, other people’s priorities can quickly and easily drown out your own. Weekly planning is the essential key to keep your time, your goals and your priorities top of mind. Every week, I take 30-60 minutes and plan my week. I start by celebrating what I achieved and how I showed up last week: this keeps me excited and from this task simply becoming another “to-do” on a too-long list. Then I review my current goal, identify what key actions I’ll take towards my goal this week and block the time for it in my calendar. I even go the extra step to send the meeting invite, book the gym class or call the babysitter so that there’s no surprises as the week goes on. Last but not least, I ask myself what I’ll do this week to be my best: to be energized as I grow and expand. This ensures self-care, rest, and well-being is not just an afterthought in my life and leadership: it’s essential to every part of success that I have. My weekly plan is shared with my team, and my partner at home so we’re all on the same page and as ready as we can be. Life still happens: there are unpredictable days, setbacks, surprises and challenges. But when I proactively start the week with clear priorities, intentions for self-care and great communication, it means what when bumps in the road come, I’m calm, and ready to act instead of react.

Thanks to Lisa Michaud, Lisa Michaud Coaching!


#2- My ability to stay organized and multitask

Photo Credit: Kelli Lane

Evernote is an application that helps me accomplish just that while still maintaining efficiency. I use Evernote daily to create to-do lists, keep track of my schedule, and create different note pages for all the independent projects I am working on simultaneously. The platform is easy and efficient to use. It allows me to share my notes with team members and streamlines the flow of communication. I recommend this application to anyone who wants to do it all but struggles with daily organization and task management.

Thanks to Kelli Lane, Genexa!


#3- Implementing Focus Fridays into my weekly routine

Photo Credit: Brooke Markevicius

Every Friday I sign off from all communications and day-to-day operations to focus on the key tasks I need to complete as CEO. When running a company, especially in the early years, it's easy to get swept up in the mindset that we have to be available 24/7 for our team and clients. Once you have a strong leadership team and systems in place, finding a focus day for yourself to check off your to-do list will help you refocus and achieve more for your business.

Thanks to Stephanie Platt, Allobee!


#4- Domino method for task management

Photo Credit: Tyler Forte

A daily hack that I have used for years that makes me more productive and successful in my day-to-day is what I call the domino method for task management. Every morning I organize the difficulty of the tasks I need to accomplish that day ranging from most to least difficult. This system will be different for everyone because a task that I might find extremely difficult might be easily accomplished by someone else. Think about the tasks you put off until the next day and are more likely to procrastinate. I tend to put those tasks at the top of my list and get them done first thing in the morning. Once I get a burdensome task checked off my to-do list, I am more motivated to go after the rest of the list. This method creates a domino effect, allowing me to get more done by limiting procrastination, task anxiety and ultimately significantly increasing my productivity.

Thanks to Tyler Forte, Felix Homes!


#4- Celebrating accomplishments

Photo Credit: Dr. Pooneh Ramezani

Celebrating accomplishments, whether big or small, has been a hack that I have used to drive more success into my life. It's important to never forget to celebrate and acknowledge all your achievements along the way of your success. Celebration and acknowledgment are what will make you motivated to continue and move forward until you achieve your ultimate level of success.

Thanks to Dr. Pooneh Ramezani, Dr. Brite!


#5- Delegating work via virtual assistants

Photo Credit: Pavel Stepanov

What I consider success, is being able to sufficiently provide for my family financially, have plenty of time to be there for them and spend time with them, and working on projects that I'm passionate about and help others. Delegating to virtual assistants helps me largely achieve all of these goals, because it allows me to 1.) get out of the daily hamster wheel grind 12-14 hour days and 2.) helps me focus on growing the business via revenue-generating activities. This plays into my favorite book, The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, which emphasizes this strategy to get more time back to enjoy life. Plus, it's an extremely cost-effective way of being more efficient, growing a team, and scaling your company.

Thanks to Pavel Stepanov, Virtudesk!


#6- Whiteboards

Photo Credit: Gabriel Dungan

I’m busy, and I am always looking for ways to become more productive. I am a very visual person, which is why I love whiteboards so much. At the beginning of each day, I take a look at what needs to be done—we use an online project management app—and transfer the list to my whiteboard. There is something about putting everything on a whiteboard that I can easily look up and see that makes my tasks feel so much more tangible. If it’s on my whiteboard, it gets done. It’s pretty basic, but it works!

Thanks to Gabriel Dungan, ViscoSoft!


#7- Answering emails at one set time per day

Photo Credit: John Ward

When I was checking my email every few minutes, it distracted me from the current task. Since I made this change I am saving all of the time spent switching back and forth as well as the time spent regaining momentum on my project. Email is designed so that we can reply at our convenience. Anything that requires our immediate attention will be communicated in person or with a phone call. If you are wearing many hats running a smaller business, and cannot delegate customer or vendor email communication, schedule a morning and afternoon time to clear out the inbox. Use the time saved to grow the business.

Thanks to John Ward, Mold Busters!


#8- Two hacks

Photo Credit: Fred McGill Jr.

I read books, which is important for entrepreneurs to continue learning and expanding their wisdom. I recommend “The Lean Startup” by Eric Reis, “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't” by Jim Collins, and “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight. These are great books for aspiring founders, full of lessons on the challenges and rewards of startups. I use the Google Analytics app a lot. I have it on my phone to check a few times a day. I like knowing what’s going on with our site’s traffic, conversion goals, and more.

Thanks to Fred McGill Jr., SimpleShowing!


#9- Thirty minutes of introspection and analyzing

Photo Credit: Ankit Thakor

Thirty minutes of introspection and analyzing are my go-to hack/habit that keeps me alive and active for all the ups and downs in my life. I try to give 30 minutes to myself before going to bed, and in these 30 minutes, I check myself; I rewind the whole day and see what the shortcomings were, what all I could have done better. I thank god for the beautiful day. That helps me to rejuvenate and sometimes provides me with solutions that I couldn't even think of. These 30 minutes are my favorite and fill me with energy and excitement. It boosts me to do more hard work.

Thanks to Ankit Thakor, SoftwareWorld.co.!


#10- Listening to audiobooks and podcasts

Photo Credit: Jack Benzaquen

There are a lot of people who would argue that CEOs are people who read a lot of books. You’ll see it in a lot of interviews and articles about these high-level executives. However, reading books, digesting them, and applying them to everyday life takes a lot of time – how are you supposed to read books and maintain the busy schedule of a CEO? An answer I have found to this is audiobooks and podcasts! They are entertaining and informative ways to pass the time, and there is always something to be picked up from each episode. Best of all, they are very accessible and free, available on Spotify or Apple Music, so you have a whole host of shows to choose and learn from, depending on what you want to focus on!

Thanks to Jack Benzaquen, Duradry!


#11- Instacart

Photo Credit: Kim Hehir and Sue Delegan

We’re both entrepreneurs and moms, which means we’re constantly rushing between conference calls, school pickup and drop off, and more. Finding time to fit in everything that needs to be done for work and home can be tough. So, we take advantage of anything that helps us get things done effectively and efficiently. For example, we LOVE Instacart because it helps with time management so that we can focus on what’s more important.

Thanks to Kim Hehir and Sue Delegan, Brutus Broth!


#12- Starting with the easier, quicker items

Photo Credit: Afton Baily Griffin

My favorite CEO hack is to always start with the easier, quicker items on my task list. That way I’m able to build momentum as I work my way from task to task. This tactic also allows me to have focused blocks of time for my complex work without interruption. By clearing the quicker, simpler tasks initially I am able to open up my schedule and my mind to more difficult tasks.

Thanks to Afton Baily Griffin, A Brand Strategy Consulting!


#13- Wearing the same thing every day

Some of the most famous entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same thing every day so I decided to give it a shot 90 days ago and my results have been phenomenal. Not only am I able to think of great ideas but it allows me to live stress-free due to the reduced amount of decisions I have to make every day. I also noticed an increase in my self-confidence since I worry less about what I think others think of me.

Thanks to Dejon Brooks, Trend Watchers!


#14- Using a daily manager huddle

Photo Credit: Jennifer Morehead

We get our senior management team together on Microsoft Teams each weekday at 10 am to discuss all the important issues going on and to solve problems. It saves us a lot of time to be together in the huddle because we can identify problems before they start and it allows us to move nimbly to make changes in our company. The huddle allows me the chance to get a pulse on what is happening and continue to develop our culture, even with all of us working remotely. I couldn’t live without the daily manager huddle.

Thanks to Jennifer Morehead, Flex HR!


#15- Chunking out my tasks for the day

As CEO, I need to do and provide input on a lot of things. I set aside blocks of time to do similar tasks to reduce the inefficiency of constantly switching between tasks. I schedule repeating events in my calendar and set aside time between 1–3 hours, depending on the task. For instance, I check Slack, our team messaging app, twice a day, so for the rest of the day, I don't use Slack. I also schedule all of my meetings in the afternoons. Combining tasks keeps my mind concentrated, allowing me to do more work in less time.

Thanks to Jim Hildenbrand, Tiger Financial!


#16- Remove the chance for the interruption

Photo Credit: Tanner Arnold

When I first began working with extreme focus, it was difficult. If someone spoke to me, I'd put on my headphones and ignore them. I felt as if I was being impolite. My mind wasn't focused on my job because I was thinking about my rudeness. One of my mistakes, I realized, was not telling people that I was worked. Taking the time to explain how your working is much superior to snapping or dismissing people who ask for help when you're focused. All of these factors contribute to higher tension, which impairs the ability to concentrate. If you have children and find it difficult to work without interruptions, schedule a work session for when they are sleeping early in the morning or late at night.

Thanks to Tanner Arnold, RevelationMachinery.com!


#17- Writing everything down

Photo Credit: Benjamin Rose

Most days of the week are very busy for most of us. It's really easy to overlook some of the most critical things that must be done. The easiest way I've found to avoid spending time thinking about what to do next is to write down everything. It's best to make a detailed to-do list the night before so that you're ready for the next day. This way, you can get your day off to a good start and let your creative juices flow. The most efficient method for making a to-do list is to prioritize tasks.

Thanks to Benjamin Rose, Trainer Academy!


#18- Having extra monitors

Photo Credit: Chris Taylor

I strongly believe that having extra monitors is an easy time-saver. Having extra displays helps me to have multiple screens for different tasks. Having one or two more monitors on my desk also helps me to drastically reduce the amount of time and effort I spend flipping between screens. As a director, I am always studying several sources at the same time while taking notes elsewhere; this way, I can see all at once without having to use the cursor.

Thanks to Chris Taylor, Profit Guru!


#19- Growth Engines by Sean Ellis & Morgan Brown

Photo Credit: Kevin Miller

I really enjoyed this book because it provides a ton of actionable tips and advice on growth marketing. The book features a bunch of amazing case studies from top-tier companies like Uber, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and many more. If you want to see specific strategies that these companies used to grow their business, then this book is for you. It offers strategies for both early stages and later in development.

Thanks to Kevin Miller, GR0!


#20- Writing a short diary every day

Photo Credit: Samir Penkar

I spend about 10-20 mins every morning writing about what's on my mind, the decisions I'm struggling with, narrating what happened the previous day and plans for the day ahead. Sometimes I write about how I'm feeling, at times about family. I don't have a fixed template for the diary, it's a free flowing stream of consciousness. I write directly on a single Google document. Writing has helped me calm down, stay focused, and proved to be a great stress reliever. Some days I write a few sentences, other days a couple of pages. At regular intervals, I go back and read my past writings, some of the things I worried about seem so trivial and unnecessary.

Thanks to Samir Penkar, Simulation Powered Learning!


#21- Getting things done

I am an adept of ‘Getting things done' methodology and it's my biggest secret to achive everything I want. Because if you are not organized and disciplined, it's unlikely that you will be able to achieve success. Besides that I do not like when some small tasks is hanging and distracts the focus. That's why I alway strive to write everything that I need to do, structure it by the priorities, delegetate whenever it's possible to free my mental space to focus on the strategic goals, and something that is not urgent but important in the long-term perspective, and if I do this regular audit of pending tasks and reflect on how I am going through my way, I feel I can achieve more.

Thanks to Joe Terrell, Drifted!


#22- Dropbox and Teamwork

Photo Credit: Kaz Amor

It’s been easy for us to collaborate with and share documents via Dropbox while working remotely. For tracking invoices, expenses, and general productivity, Teamwork has been a great tool as well. Encouraging collaboration can only be done if you, as a leader, are facilitating it. Do so by creating company-wide meetings at least once a week, or setting up meetings between coworkers frequently as well.

Thanks to Kaz Amor, VoCê Haircare!


#23- Practicing gratitude

Photo Credit: Jess Smith

It sounds simple, but it is POWERFUL. Gratitude has the ability to shift us out of the lows that naturally come at times with being an entrepreneur. Every morning before I begin my wor day I sit down and write out three things that I am grateful for that I currently have in my life and three things I am grateful for that I intend to bring into my life. When I read through my list I really try to feel the gratitude and experience it in my body. This simple activity puts me into a positive mindset and sets me up for massive success each day!

Thanks to Jess Smith, Jess Smith Coaching!


#24- Notion

Photo Credit: Chris Gadek

A great tool that I have heard more and more about is Notion. Notion is a lot like Google Drive in the sense that it keeps your teams documents together in one place. This is great when sharing files or trying to get bulks of documents to different departments. If Google Drive or whichever platform you use now has not done what you need it to do then this is a great switch. It has in-depth tools that allow your company to keep up with the tasks you have at hand without getting them lost in the process.

Thanks to Chris Gadek, AdQuick!


#25- The book, Leadershift

Photo Credit: Scott Cairns

“Every advance you make as a leader will require a leadershift that changes the way you think, act, and lead” are the lines that come into my mind whenever I make business-related decisions. These are from the book, Leadershift – The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace by John C. Maxwell. It helps me be a better CEO because he shared how leaders like me can be flexible leaders who can adapt to the continuous changes happening today. He listed down all the eleven shifts he made throughout his business journey and the strategies he did that made him a successful and innovative leader that can influence others for the better. He also made me realized that if a leader is not willing to do something for the business, growth will not be possible.

Thanks to Scott Cairns, Creation Business Consultants!


#26- Giving up tomorrow

Photo Credit: Marcus Clarke

Give up tomorrow, a simple quotation that I learned to apply in my daily life as a business owner. There are times where I feel exhausted, when the bad days come, and business deals do not take place, or a product does not gain enough income, I thought of giving up. But I remind myself of where I stand today, the hardships I overcome, then I say, give up tomorrow. When a new day starts, I look in the mirror and reiterate the exact quotation. Until such time I believe in my ability to reach the success I work for, and my sacrifices become worthy. It's almost similar to applying the law of attraction. When my mindset, thoughts, and ideas revolve around the brighter side of things, I attract more positivity.

Thanks to Marcus Clarke, Searchant.co!


#27- SelfControl

Photo Credit: Bari Medgaus

An app I love to use is SelfControl. It’s a tool that blocks websites you have listed as distracting for a period of time that you set. Once you set it, there is no way to shut it off until the time expires. This keeps me away from distractions and focused on getting work done.

Thanks to Bari Medgaus, Stabili-Teeth™!


#28- Meditation

Photo Credit: Sunny Mills

As a CEO it can sometimes become difficult to establish when you need a break. A couple of habits I have implemented into my brain is meditation. I do this to have a clear head throughout the day. In addition to meditating, whenever I feel the workload is becoming overwhelming, I realize its time to cut back on meeting overload, and dedicate an hour a day to something outdoors. This keeps the mind and body fresh. Taking a break and going outside increases efficiency for me whenever I find myself stuck on an idea. So, I take a break and do something completely unrelated to the task at hand. It can be as simple as going outside and taking a walk. Where focus goes energy flows, and if your focus is stuck on a project that you can’t make any headway on, your energy becomes blocked and work efficiency grinds to a halt. Changing your focus can help your state of mind change, so when you return to work you feel refreshed and ready to tackle things with new eyes.

Thanks to Sunny Mills, Yoga Club!


#29- Knowing when to put away my work

Photo Credit: Louis Leidenfrost

Technology has created expectations of constant accessibility. While it’s imperative to complete work assignments, it’s also important to unplug after work and live the moment. Eat dinner away from your phone. Take a walk. Read a book. If you need to check work emails, schedule time to do so rather than constantly looking at your email or phone. It’s important to make time for your life outside of work so you can be happier and more focused at work.

Thanks to Louis Leidenfrost, Paint Your Numbers!


#30- Taking regular naps everyday

Photo Credit: Kristi Stoll

I have always believed that success depends on how fresh you feel during the day and taking regular naps everyday at work keeps my mind fresh throughout the day. Even machines need rest to function properly. Human brain also needs rest to be more productive, which is why I never overlook the importance of a good nap during work. I have always made sure to stick to this habit, and this is the key to my success at work.

Thanks to Kristi Stoll, KidVisionaries!


What's your favorite CEO hack/resource (app, book or habit) that makes you successful? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

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Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue 16 Media.

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