CEO Hack

28 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- Preparing for the day ahead in the evening

Photo Credit: Michael Roub

Whether managing a team or working individually, working in the office or remotely from home, I have found that my best hack to make me successful is to take 10-20 minutes each evening to prep for the day ahead. A quick look at my to-do list and some thoughts on prioritization allows me to hit the day running. In the rare mornings that I did not prep the evening before, I find myself casually responding to emails as my coffee slowly kicks in. However, when I prepare the night before, I get to my desk and start going. I get more done in my first two hours when focused like this than I often do in an entire unfocused day. For me, a few different highlighter colors along with a to-do list and I can easily prioritize the most important tasks as well as those which I just want to get off my plate.

Thanks to Michael Roub, Inflection 360!


#2- Headspace

Photo Credit: Deborah Sweeney

My favorite CEO hack that makes me more effective as a business owner is called Headspace. This is a great meditation app that keeps me focused and able to handle what the day brings. Headspace gives me a moment (or a few minutes) to clear my mind, focus my intentions and set myself for a productive, effective, and calm day. I find it to be my most effective hack for handling anything that comes my way on any given day.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!


#3- Never giving up

Photo Credit: Pranchil Murray

I believe that the most prevalent habit that made me successful is that I never give up and work tirelessly toward their objectives, although perhaps not in the most traditional methods. Those are cliched remarks, but they are absolutely correct. Though it comes to goals and visions, I never listened to my doubters, which is why I don't give up, even when others might or do. At the same time, most highly successful people take care of themselves, which may entail taking regular breaks from work. But that's part of what allows them to thrive and really ‘go for it' when they're working.

Thanks to Pranchil Murray, Malwarefox!


#4- Optimism

Photo Credit: Eric Rohrback

The best habit that has helped me succeed is my ability to have a positive attitude through thick and thin. Now, in order to succeed, I have put in a lot of hard work and thought. Much of my optimism comes from my work, but it also helps me maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity. This is because I believe in myself, my organization, and the goal I've developed. When others are ready to give up, I roll up my sleeves not because I am a hard worker, but because I feel I am destined to succeed in the end.

Thanks to Eric Rohrback, Hill & Ponton!


#5- Leveraging a full-time assistant

Photo Credit: Adriana L. Cowdin

It may seem like an expense at first, but, when you factor your hourly rate as a CEO to the hourly rate of an assistant (let's say $15-$20/hr.), there's no comparing the value they deliver for a business. Since I hired my assistant full-time, I've delegated everything from bookkeeping to graphic design, blog management, social media posting and calendar management. She even manages my inbox on days I'm booked back-to-back with meetings. This is, by far, the best use of dollars and time I've made in my business to date.

Thanks to Adriana L. Cowdin, Dekaf Digital!


#6- Workflowy

Photo Credit: Paul Serra

I've tried pretty much every note-taking and to-do list app under the sun. Nothing works better for me than Workflowy. The secret is everything is in structured bullet points. I make an outline of the steps of my project the way my brain naturally thinks about it and then get my tasks done. It's far superior to heavyweight project management programs. Best of all, it works for tasks and notes.

Thanks to Paul Serra, Sleepline!


#7- Strictly abiding the routine that I set up for myself

Photo Credit: David Stellini

I strongly believe that following a well-thought routine diligently and consistently can set us up for more sustainable success in the long run. But that’s only if you personally took the time and effort in contemplating on setting up your own routine because nobody knows what works for you the best but yourself. And since you took time and effort in making that routine, you’ll have no room to make excuses for not following them.

Thanks to David Stellini, AllFront.io!


#8- Being flexible

Photo Credit: Daniel Rutberg

This past year has shown us the importance and value of being able to pivot as a business when it comes to our marketing campaigns, and that sentiment will carry into 2021. If one thing has become clear, to stay successful, you have to stay as flexible as possible. Actively engage with your clients to create turnkey solutions that work for them based on their individual needs and situation. Showing that you're able to be innovative and change direction on a dime can be a sure way to prove your tenacity. Additionally, keep in mind that the most expensive strategy does not always produce the best results. Look closely into social media options, especially platforms that are still a bit new to businesses, such as TikTok and YouTube. Some of your competitors may not have a strong presence there… yet. So, you may be able to beat them to it!

Thanks to Daniel Rutberg, MuteSix!


#9-‘The customer is always right' mindset

Photo Credit: Travis Killian

When you adopt the fact that the customer is always right, then you'll see one important reaction, time and time again. Whether you need to offer a refund, or a free month of service, keeping a customer is priceless. And what may have started as a complaint, may just well turn into a customer for life – all because of the way that you turned a negative into a positive. Knowing that a company will stand behind their values can be of utmost importance to a customer, and it will establish a business environment based on integrity AND success.

Thanks to Travis Killian, Everlasting Comfort!


#10- Proper grammar

Photo Credit: Heidi Robinson

Preparing grammatically correct content is not just a suggestion, but a prerequisite for any brand that hopes to build a solid reputation. Believe it or not, something that may seem as simple as a typo in a report could reflect very negatively on your business. In a digital environment when there are apps and other safeguards to lower the probability of grammatically incorrect content, many see it as inexcusable when it occurs.

Thanks to Heidi Robinson, Because Market!


#11- Getting myself in the right frame of mind

Photo Credit: Jordan Dwayne

A CEO hack that I always use is to get myself in the right frame of mind to recognize that customer success will definitely revolve around customer service. As we learned in 2020, when buying patterns shifted and some consumers put purchases that weren't essential on hold, the choice between two competing retailers was often based on their level of support. In other words, customers want to be able to trust the stores or sites where they purchase from – even if those purchases are small. And, if there is any issue with the purchase, they'll need to believe that it will be handled in a timely manner. These are also the things that will change a one-time purchase into a customer for life.

Thanks to Jordan Dwayne, 6 Ice!


#12- Setting a dedicated time to check my emails

Photo Credit: Jennifer Harder

When I was a startup CEO, one of my favourite hacks was to set out a dedicated time to check my emails. It might be time-consuming to shuffle through your inbox. Simply responding to the many emails could take you 20 to 30 minutes. With this in mind, it's critical to schedule time in your day to check your emails; you can do this twice a day, once in the morning and again later in the afternoon.

Thanks to Jennifer Harder, Jennifer Harder Mortgage Brokers!


#13- Keeping myself physically fit

Photo Credit: Ryan Stewart

One habit I find invaluable to my success is keeping myself as physically fit as possible. This means that I prioritize going to the gym, working out at least four days a week, and breaking a sweat at least five. Keeping my body fit is not only a great way to clear my head, but it also keeps my focus laser-sharp. There's a ton of scientific research about the health benefits of endorphin release (from exercise) and increasing overall confidence.

Thanks to Ryan Stewart, Webris!


#14- Doing guided meditation

Photo Credit: Tyler Wall

As a CEO, I definitely have a lot on my plate each day. From jumping in different meetings/calls to assisting with daily operations of the business, my plate is full. To ensure that I stay sane, every day after eating lunch, I take ten minutes to do a guided meditation in my office. This helps me stay focused for the rest of the day and clears my mind.

Thanks to Tyler Wall, SD Bullion!


#15- Rejuvenating and brainstorming

Photo Credit: Robert Brandl

As an entrepreneur, a habit I developed a few years back, of taking time out to rejuvenate and brainstorm with fellow founders is now a yearly routine. Once a year I meet with a group of friends who are also entrepreneurs in a sunny location where we review the year's biggest successes and failures. In these Mastermind sessions I find affirmation for the decisions I've made from my peers as well as to learn from them and their little genius ideas and tips for improving my own business path.  We also share business resources we've used or discovered during the year. It's where I was first alerted to the book, ”Work the System” which highlights the importance of business processes. I never thought that a small business like mine even needs SOPs (standard operating procedures) but the opposite is true. Everything that gets repeated over and over again needs to be documented so you can hand tasks over to your employees easily.

Thanks to Robert Brandl, EmailToolTester!


#16- Slack

Photo Credit: Richard Mews

Slack is a mix of a productivity tool and productivity killer. However, for many CEOs, Slack remains the most straightforward method of communicating with their staff. Personally, I am a major lover of Slack. It eliminates email and replaces it with an ‘instant messaging' mode of communication that we have found to be quite successful.

Thanks to Richard Mews, Sell With Richard!


#17- Listening to business podcasts

Photo Credit: Chris Muktar

On your road to becoming a successful CEO, You’ll encounter and will be facing a lot of challenges and there are just some habits that will help you to overcome them. As a CEO myself, there is just one habit that I truly believe helped me to become successful and that is listening to business podcasts. Listening to different podcasts equipped me with different business knowledge and even perspectives that I applied in my own life and I’m happy that I didn’t stop listening to these podcasts.

Thanks to Chris Muktar, WikiJob.co.uk!


#18- Playing with my kids

Photo Credit: Jaya Aiyar

Playing with my kids, I believe, helped me succeed. When I am with them, they make me realize the simplicity of life. As Paulo Coelho once said, “A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.” These things taught me to strive harder and reach my goals while enjoying life’s pleasure.

Thanks to Jaya Aiyar, Créatif and Créatif Franchise!


#19- Growing internally and externally

Photo Credit: Martin Luenendonk

The best hack for me is the continuous acquisition of knowledge. We all know that the world never stops moving and ideas keep on emerging. To grasp these changes, we, leaders, should equip ourselves by trying to learn new things, ideas and concepts everyday. Filling our minds with new knowledge is like giving ourselves the opportunity to be committed in a wider industry. We need to cope with the trends and innovation because being unable to do so can put us in a problematic situation. This became the best hack not just because of the above reason but also because of practicality. You can learn in different ways such as reading, communicating and even through experience which almost cost you nothing but willingness. All in all, I believe that knowledge indeed gives a person power to make wise decisions.

Thanks to Martin Luenendonk, FounderJar!


#20- Todoist

Photo Credit: Jenny Bater-Sinclair

My favourite resource has to be Todoist, the task management app. I’ve never been more productive, Todoist offers an easy-to-use, customizable to-do-list type app that works seamlessly across devices. It is so customizable that I feel like it was built just for me. Not only that, it works with Alexa, Google Calendar, IFTTT and Siri to make adding and editing on the go a breeze!

Thanks to Jenny Bater-Sinclair, Hip Hop Pop Ltd!


#21- Write things down or typing them

Photo Credit: Andrew Raso

My favourite hack that makes me successful is that I do not trust my memory. This is because I get overwhelmed pretty easily and I tend to forget. Since I know that remembering things is a struggle for me, I learned to work my way around it. Whenever I need to remember something for later, I either write it down directly or type them in quickly to the notes app on my phone. I bet that without this hack, I might have forgotten lots of important meetings that would have meant losing clients. So yes, I owe my success to knowing that my memory betrays me and doing something about it.

Thanks to Andrew Raso, Online Marketing Gurus!


#22- Timely breaks and naps

Photo Credit: Erin Mastopietro

While most of us are busy hustling, we forget about how our brain can only be productive if it stays fresh. Many of the world’s most successful CEOs have told people to maintain a healthy work-life balance. They advise one to take due breaks at regular intervals to keep the brain fresh and working. If you work too much, it will exhaust your energy and reduce your capacities thus, limiting your potential. You will not be able to execute ideas at the quality you wish to achieve. Hence, it is important to take naps or breaks regularly.

Thanks to Erin Mastopietro, Dope Dog!


#23- Using Notion app for planning

Photo Credit: Arun Grewal

Implementing the Notion app for all of my business documents has allowed me to streamline many of my processes. It comes with several pre-built templates for budgeting, business CRM, job applications, and much more which can all be customized. These can all be seen in a number of views that best match your workflow, allowing you to visualize a roadmap. It also has a load of integrations and uses easy code to be completely flexible and match your business needs. It is cross-platform and accessible on the go. The best part is that it’s easily shareable with your team, helping you work like a well-oiled machine.

Thanks to Arun Grewal, CoffeeBrewingPro.com!


#24- Self-evaluation system

Photo Credit: Malte Scholz

I have a system of weekly evaluations that I do by myself and reflect both on work results but also on my performance. I intentionally created a specific format for these reflections and I stick to it. For this evaluation, I always look at three categories. The first one are pluses and I list all of the achievements I had. These can be minor things such as great facilitation of important meetings. The next one are minuses, but I prefer looking at these as areas for improvement. I really dig deep in this one and come up with everything that I wasn’t satisfied with. Finally, the last step are takeaways from the process. It’s not enough to simply list minuses – I have to think about ways of overcoming them. This evaluation system helps me constantly grow and become a better leader to my employees.

Thanks to Malte Scholz, Airfocus!


#25- Prioritize my Sundays

Photo Credit: Kate Williams

I give myself the rest of the day to sleep in, spend time with my family, catch up on my fun reading, and do anything else that will recharge me for the week. I also set aside an hour to prepare for the week. For my work life, that includes creating my to-do list for the week, assigning tasks to my team on our Trello board, sorting through emails, etc. For home life, it means meal planning, grocery shopping (thanks, Instacart!), and figuring out with my partner who is taking which kid to practice on which days. I like to plan my week right away on Sunday. I consider this a form of self-care, because it lets me spend the rest of Sunday relaxing and enjoying life so I can go into Monday knowing I’m ready for the week.

Thanks to Kate Williams, People First Content!


#26- The Hard Thing about Hard Things

Photo Credit:

The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Hrowitz is a good companion for a CEO. I’ll explain why. Ben was a wildly successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley where you have to make some pretty cutthroat decisions. That’s what running a company from scratch is all about. He himself had to fire a close friend. It’s almost every entrepreneur’s mistake to try and bring close friends or family with them and it never works out. I myself had a friend from high school when I started Translation Equipment HQ. It’s really hard to deal with and it was good being able to see how someone else had to do the same as me, politely let them go.

Thanks to Will Ward, Translation Equipment HQ!


#27- Shoe Dog

Photo Credit: Katie Lyon

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight is a great book on business, written by the Co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight. In this book, he explains how he started with borrowed $50 and grew his business into the company we all know today. However, it provides more than just business advice, adding valuable quotes and input on life in general. In particular, the book offers insight into how to access situations, what to look for in others, and yourself. I adhere to one quote, especially which is: “When you see only problems, you do not see clearly.” I keep this in mind whenever I think a specific situation has no remedy. There are always solutions. It just takes thinking outside the box and a little bit of ingenuity. Thankfully, this book is one I can repeatedly reread as it continues to add more valuable information to my internal database as I grow older.

Thanks to Katie Lyon, Allegiance Flag Supply!


#28- Waking up early

Photo Credit: James Dyble

I developed the habit of waking up early in the morning early in my career, and I swear by its efficiency. Not only does it allow me to get ahead while others are sleeping, but I also find that it is my most optimistic working time; some of my best work and ideas have come to fruition during this time of day.

Thanks to James Dyble, Global Sound Group!


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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