CEO Hack

30 Entrepreneurs Explain the CEO Hack That Makes Them Successful

As an entrepreneur, you have that gadget, habit, app, or 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 that 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- DocuSign

Photo Credit: Edith Pearce

When the pandemic hit, we began using DocuSign to provide clients the ability to electronically sign documents. DocuSign has allowed our clients to sign all of their documents in the comfort of their own home and, while we have also adopted other tools such as video conferencing software, DocuSign has probably been the most important remote working tool for our firm over the last years.

Thanks to Edith Pearce, The Pearce Law Firm!


#2- Staying humble

Photo Credit: Max Benz

I don't really have a hack, but I think the most important thing is that you have to be passionate about what you're doing. Because if you're not passionate about it, it's going to be hard to sustain that level of energy and enthusiasm over the long haul. Another important thing is to stay humble and remember that you're always learning. No one knows everything, so don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. And lastly, always stay focused on the big picture and never lose sight of your goals.

Thanks to Max Benz, BankingGeek!


#3- The book ‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things' by Ben Horowitz

Photo Credit: Samuel Devyver

One great book I’ve referenced over and over again is The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. As the name suggests, the author analyzes the complexities of the issues that CEOs deal with daily that don’t come with easy answers. This guide helps you navigate through demoting friends, hiring your friends’ or competitors’ employees, dealing with capable but poorly-performing employees, and more. Even if you don’t run into the same issues as a CEO, the insights can help you learn how to best approach unconventional, complicated challenges by applying Horowitz's principles.

Thanks to Samuel Devyver, Easy Llama!


#4- The app ‘HabitYou'

Photo Credit: Stewart Guss

My favorite CEO hack is the app HabitYou, which combines a habit tracker, journal, and day planner into an all-in-one resource. What I love is how customizable this app is while requiring no logins—it works entirely offline, so I can check and update wherever I am. Reminders keep me on track throughout a busy workday, and I enjoy checking the graphs to see how my progress is going throughout the week.

Thanks to Stewart Guss, Attorney Guss!


#5- Using ‘Terkel'

Photo Credit: David Patterson-Cole

I recently found out about Terkel (Terkel.io) and have been very happy with the results. If you're trying to build backlinks and name recognition across the web, Terkel is a great way to find journalists looking for quotes. In addition to HARO, it's become a go-to resource of mine, and one that I really enjoy. They've been quickly rolling out new and useful features, and overall, it just feels nice to contribute and be helpful to some motivated journalists.

Thanks to David Patterson-Cole, Moonchaser!


#6- Promodoro method

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Gabriel

This year, I'm really focused on productivity tracking. The best way I've found to do this is by using the Pomodoro method. Work for 20 minutes, take a five-minute break, and repeat, with a 15-minute break every four sessions. Track what you get done in a spreadsheet and regularly review your data at the end of the week. You'll find which times and tasks give you maximum productivity or enjoyment, and which ones you should delegate to staff. It's simple, effective, and free—a rare trifecta in my increasingly-busy work life.

Thanks to Jeffrey Gabriel, Saw!


#7- Setting a strong daily routine

Photo Credit: Russell Lieberman

Strong daily routines help me stay aligned with my weekly and monthly goals so I can effectively lead the business instead of being in a constant state of reaction. The idea of a perfect work/life balance is a myth since nothing is a constant in life or business but change. I can’t control everything that happens, but I can control how I respond; the best way I maintain a balanced response is by being intentional with my game plan before I hit the ground running.

Thanks to Russell Lieberman, Altan Insights!


#8- Doing things I enjoy

Photo Credit: Chris Gadek

Making the time to enjoy life helps me be and feel more successful. While many people assume a rigid work schedule is a key to achieving goals, I find being overly focused on your career gains can sometimes take your eye off the bigger picture. So, during the week, I go surfing, practice tai chi, or go to a concert with friends. Doing things I enjoy helps me maintain a positive mental attitude and feel refreshed for the workday ahead.

Thanks to Chris Gadek, AdQuick!


#9- Using NO more often

Photo Credit: Benjamin Meskin

The word NO is one of the most powerful tools I use to maintain and grow my success. It allows me to protect my time, energy, and resources so I have the bandwidth to tackle what’s most necessary, then delegate the rest. In the past, I tried to please everyone by doing everything, which left me stuck and worn out with little results to show for my efforts. Now, I take on tasks that directly contribute to achieving my goals while safeguarding my future through the power of NO- which has made all the difference. At first, saying no may feel uncomfortable but ultimately gives us our life back.

Thanks to Benjamin Meskin, Cabrella!


#10- The book ‘Sell like crazy' by Sabri Subi

Photo Credit: James Crawford

Maybe the title makes the book seem like a book about selling only, but it’s so much more than that. “Sell Like Crazy” by Sabri Subi is so far the best business book I’ve ever read. It has everything CEOs and business owners need to make their business successful. It covers many issues I had, such as which business activities to focus on, how to generate more revenue for my business, etc. What I like the most about this book is that it offers unique concepts and insights that you will not find elsewhere, and everything is backed by examples and actionable tips.

Thanks to James Crawford, Deal Drop!


#11- The books related to high-tech

Photo Credit: Leslie Radka

I read a lot. Reading entrepreneurial and business books, especially the books related to High-Tech, are a reason behind my success. I was not an entrepreneur a year before. Still, I am now, all thanks to the books I have been reading all these years, which provided me with the expertise I have today, but they have also given me the self-confidence due to which I was able to start my own business.

Thanks to Leslie Radka, Great People Search!


#12- Delegating tasks

Photo Credit: Mark pierce

My favorite productivity hack is delegation. Delegating tasks as a leader has many benefits, including stress reduction and increased effectiveness and productivity. It’s simply not possible for small business owners to do everything themselves. For successful delegation, identify key people to which you can delegate tasks. It’s important to choose people who are both capable of handling the tasks their given without overwhelming them or hindering their own workplace responsibilities.

Thanks to Mark Pierce, Wyoming Trust & LLC Attorney!


#13- Automating everything

Photo Credit: George Tsagas

Automate everything. From marketing to scheduling content to data tracking to customer queries, everything goes through an automated process that allows me to save time and focus on the high-level vision for the company. Giving the business the freedom to run on its own is the only way to enjoy autonomy as an entrepreneur and business owner. Investing in automated processes has allowed me more time to
think creatively and build my ideas.

Thanks to George Tsagas, eMathZone!


#14- Checking emails once a day

Photo Credit: Sam Speller

Having been the CEO of a company for almost 10 years now, the biggest CEO hack I have learned is to only check your emails once a day. Replying to emails can be the biggest drain on your time. I set aside one hour in the morning to respond to all my emails, and spend the rest of my day focusing on other tasks. My team knows this and will call me if there is anything that needs urgent attention. After doing this, I have freed up so much time and I can now put it to better use.

Thanks to Sam Speller, Kenko Tea!


#15- Using Slack and Trello

Photo Credit: Nathan Liao

One of my top CEO hacks is using Slack to correspond with my team members. In my company, we have replaced internal email communication with Slack. This has dramatically lowered the number of emails daily. Instant messaging in apps like Slack has improved the speed of internal communication and dropped email fatigue. I also love using Trello to stay on top of all my tasks. I have my days, weeks, months, and quarters mapped out in Trello. This keeps us motivated and accountable.

Thanks to Nathan Liao   , CMA Exam Academy!


#16- Deleting the email app from my phone

Photo Credit: Tytus Golas

In the quest to be successful, it’s very easy to forget about separating your life from your work. In busier periods, I used to always catch myself reading and answering emails right before going to sleep, early in the morning, during my commute, and so on. However, it only made me less productive. The hack I recommend is deleting all email-related apps from the phone and coming up with a dedicated time slot when you will deal with your inbox. It’s a true productivity boost without sacrificing your work-life balance.

Thanks to Tytus Golas, Tidio!


#17- Headspace

Photo Credit: Madilyn Hill

The favorite CEO hack that makes me more efficient and successful as a business owner is Headspace. It’s a top-notch meditation app that helped me keep engaged and let me handle every workload and what the day brings. Moreover, this app, Headspace, gives me a personal moment to clear my stuck mind, focus on my intentions, and set myself for an efficient, productive, and calm day. I found this powerful app to be my most efficient CEO hack for managing anything that comes my way on any day.

Thanks to Madilyn Hill, True Person Finder!


#18- The book ‘Deep Work' by Cal Newport

Photo Credit: Peter Rossi

My favorite book as a CEO that has helped me a lot is Deep Work by Cal Newport. It is very helpful in increasing productivity. Although the concept of deep work was a bit difficult to adopt since I have adopted it, I have felt a huge positive change in my personality, and also my productivity and efficiency have increased, which has benefitted my business. We need to define proper workspace and timings to achieve the best outcomes. I have scheduled alternate periods of deep and shallow work. We perform the best when we are focused and have fewer distractions.

Thanks to Peter Rossi, ByRossi!


#19- Celebrating small wins

Photo Credit: Miro Nikolov

Celebrating small wins is my best CEO productive hack that makes me successful. Whatever accomplishment it may be, it reminds me that there is progress in the work that I do. Progress feels good. Celebrating small wins is a way to track incremental achievements and gives me the motivation to keep going and achieve bigger goals. Knowing that I accomplished something also fuels my confidence and makes me feel ready to take on challenges that I may encounter as I move closer to my goal.

Thanks to Miro Nikolov, Super Betting Sites!


#20- Testing products in small increments

Photo Credit: Brian Dechesare

As a serial entrepreneur, I've learned first-hand that no matter how confident you feel about a product, moving in small increments is the best way to operate. Going all-in on a new product will rarely pay off in the long term – we hear about these kinds of stories all the time, but that's only because they're so rare. Those success stories are the outliers. If you're wanting to build stable, long-term success, testing products in smaller, more manageable steps is the way forward.

Thanks to Brian Dechesare, Breaking Into Wall Street!


#21- Including editable Google Doc

Photo Credit: David Waring

One of the biggest hacks I use is including an editable Google Doc in all my meeting invites. While having an agenda certainly keeps the meeting on track, that's not actually the primary reason I do this. I do this primarily so that when non-urgent things pop into my head that I want to discuss with various team members, I open up my calendar, find the next meeting I have with them, and drop my thoughts for discussion on the agenda. I ask team members to do the same.

Thanks to David Waring, Fit Small Business!


#22- Fostering creativity

Photo Credit: Lily Wright

Creativity is a must-have trait for a successful CEO. And I am always in pursuit of honing my creative ability. Creativity, INC by Ed Catmull was my ultimate guide to becoming a creative manager. Ed is the president of Pixar Animation, and he takes you down on the journey to Pixar's creative culture. The book discusses their processes, including meetings and ‘Braintrust' sessions. The book was a great help for me to develop a culture of creativity and innovation.

Thanks to Lily Wright, Visual Hunt!


#23- Otter

Photo Credit: Sasha Laghonh

As a person on the go, I'm exposed to people and ideas all day long and I use the Otter app when needed. It provides multi-functional features that record and take meeting notes in real-time, so you can focus on priorities in front of you. Its reliable voice-to-text feature allows you to transcribe material that can be integrated into agendas, project tracking, action items, and calendars. It's great for all members of an organization (i.e. Sales, BD, Networking) that can be used individually and as a group.

Thanks to Sasha Laghonh, Sasha Talks!


#24- Using a virtual whiteboard

Photo Credit: Ryan Montgomery

As a tech business CEO, I prefer having most team meetings online. The Miro app comes in handy during my meetings on the go. It is a virtual whiteboard that helps organize thoughts and work plans easily. This makes building and developing ideas easier, making our meetings more productive. It is like we are in the same room, anywhere, anytime. All participants can add and edit discussion points and footnotes. The final board can then be saved and shared This tool saves a lot of my time and helps brainstorm and plan new ideas with the team.

Thanks to Ryan Montgomery, Become!


#25- The book ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad' by Robert Kiyosaki

Photo Credit: Becky Brown

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is a book that helped me establish my entrepreneurial spirit and it's what got me into starting a serious business. Today, I successfully run multiple businesses and apply principles from the book to all of them. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is an amazing book about personal finance and long-term financial planning, and it's a resource that any CEO can use to their advantage.

Thanks to Becky Brown, Shopping Kim!


#26- Scheduling personal time

Photo Credit: Kristen Wiley

Scheduling personal time is a habit that has been invaluable for me as I build my company. At the beginning of each quarter and month when I set KPIs and goals for myself, I create revenue-based goals AND personal goals. These might include the time I want to spend with family, my significant other, catching up with friends, time for myself, and vacations I’d like to take. I make sure to schedule them into my calendar and add
them to my to-do list.

Thanks to Kristen Wiley, Statusphere!


#27- The book ‘The Miracle Morning' by Hal Elrod

Photo Credit: Brett Larkin

When it comes to CEO hacks, nothing is better than a good book. Having a great piece of guiding literature to turn to in times of stress can be really valuable. This book changed my life and really helped me learn about and get into the right mindset for optimal productivity. We all have more than enough time to accomplish the things we want, and this book shows us how to get that time back. This is essential for any CEO, and maintaining a good work-life balance is a critical part of overall health & wellness!

Thanks to Brett Larkin, Uplifted Yoga!


#28- Writing to-do list by hand

Photo Credit: Eytan Bensoussan

One of my most effective hacks has been writing my to-do list by hand every single day. At the end of every day, I recopy and prepare it for the next day. This allows me to see things that linger too long, to think about every single thing I’m writing, and see if I should be delegating it, or not even doing it. Most importantly, it makes me aware of what is getting done and how much/how little is getting done over the day. The act of transcribing it every day makes me simply re-prioritize everything that is
on my plate.”

Thanks to Eytan Bensoussan, NorthOne!


#29- Enhancing communication

Photo Credit: Chun-Kai Wang

In managing several remote teams, I've come to rely on short and convenient communication channels. As a result of their commitment and expertise, I try to empathize with my employees. Making quicker decisions and ensuring all sorts of information is accounted for helps me stay in the loop. Additionally, it ensures that essential time is saved in planning, sorting, and analyzing.  I strive to balance the company vision with employee satisfaction. This is my key to success.

Thanks to Chun-Kai Wang, Snake.io!


#30- Multitasking & meetings one day per week

Photo Credit: Nikita Dedhia

Multitasking can be deceiving since we try doing a lot more in the same amount of time. Relax, we can achieve the required results by doing one item at a time, step by step. Multitasking may appear to be a necessary habit for a truly successful CEO, but it is a proven productivity killer. Give 100 percent attention to a single task. Also, keep at least one day every week free of meetings by implementing a No Meeting Wednesdays policy.  It's a Facebook trick that permits coworkers to work uninterrupted. We focus better and complete more work if there are fewer distractions.

Thanks to Nikita Dedhia, MitCityFarm!


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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