Whether you realise it or not, your days are carefully designed by no-one else but you. It is you who chooses to skip a morning jog to steal an extra half an hour in bed, or wastes the quiet morning hours checking social media notifications instead of cracking on with the day’s toughest tasks.
If you want to see a change in your routine, to feel a shift in your energy, mood and productivity levels, then you have to take responsibility for your actions and choices. The only way to be more effective is to choose to be more effective.
We have interviewed 6 outstanding entrepreneurs to give you a taste of how people, who are exceptionally productive and achieve more than their peers or competitors, think and act. Feel free to copy and apply the habits that fit into your lifestyle.
Marijus Andrijauskas: “Avoid the Domino effect”
Marijus Andrijauskas is the founder and CEO of Teamgate, a complete inbound sales CRM for startups and SME’s. He credits his high productivity levels to a selection of monitoring and management tools that keep him on his toes every day.
His mornings start with some Tibetan exercises, a cold shower, coffee and world news. Marijus claims this morning routine is a must for him to ease into the day and come to work prepared to move mountains.
“My planning philosophy is quite straightforward. I always try to finish the tasks I planned, whatever it takes. Because it’s like a Domino effect; if one falls, a full row can be down.”
When asked to share his productivity methods, Marijus is very honest: “Multitasking is inevitable these days. I plan to categorize my daily tasks. If it needs a sharp brain, then I do it in the morning. If it’s a creative task that takes time, then I do it in the afternoon with chats/phones off.”
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Maris Dagis: “Keep a short daily to-do list”
Maris Dagis, the co-founder, and CEO of an eCommerce platform Sellfy.com says that the number one habit that allows him to stay highly effective is keeping a daily to-do list. “I keep it short, with just a couple of important tasks I need to do each day. That allows me to focus and be effective every day.”
Maris starts his day with a glass of water, a good breakfast and a short workout to get going. Although he insists it’s “nothing fancy”, ultimately, it’s the routine that puts a spring in his step. “Workwise, I keep a small (2-4 tasks) daily to-do list that I review each morning.”
He has a few tips when the conversation turns to staying effective at work. “At Sellfy, we keep a very broad picture on what to achieve each year and a more detailed roadmap for the next 3 months. Specific tasks are usually planned in 2-4 week short periods and assigned to each team member. For me, personally, it’s zooming in and out constantly to align priorities and see whether we are moving in the right direction or something needs to be changed.”
Maris believes that keeping his email inbox clean, allocating blocks of time without interruptions to get stuff done and keeping the notifications of his devices to a bare minimum are the simple methods that increase his productivity.
Tomas Laurinavicius: “Practice the ‘either HELL YEAH or no’ rule”
Tomas Laurinavicius is a lifestyle entrepreneur. As someone who’s known for writing about habits of highly effective people, he has a few foolproof tips to share:
Using the 2-Minute Rule. Overcome procrastination and laziness by making it so easy to start taking action that you can’t say no. If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now.
Achieving Inbox Zero. It is a rigorous approach to email management aimed at keeping the inbox empty, or almost empty, at all times.
Achieving To Do List Zero. Just like Inbox Zero, you try to get to zero by delegating, removing and completing tasks in your to-do list.
Setting Reminders. People forget quickly even if it’s extremely important. I set reminders for myself when to stand up and take a walking break when to go to bed, when to follow up on an email, when to call a bank, when to cancel the free trial software and so on.
Saying No. No “yes.” Either “HELL YEAH!” or “no.”
But when it comes to choosing his number one habit that boosts productivity and helps to hit all targets, he is adamant that meditation is the right solution.
Matiss Ansviesulis: “Focus on one thing and one thing only”
Matiss Ansviesulis is the co-founder and CEO of Creamfinance, a company that makes money available by providing one-click loans to consumers globally. It’s backed up by Smart Data scoring method and is currently operating in 7 countries.
Matiss kicks off his day at around 7 am with a salmon or avocado sandwich and a 20-minute jog. One thing he tries to avoid by all costs is checking his email. “I prefer to spend my morning investing in myself both physically and mentally rather than checking emails. That’s, of course, if I’m not traveling which happens around 50% of the time.”
Being productive at work is of major importance to Matiss. His productivity methods range from learning to delegate to focusing on one task at a time. “I’m a fan of GTD (Getting-Things-Done), which is why I try to deal with the issue as it comes. If I can’t solve the issue at that moment, I schedule the time when it can be done and continue. If not – I delegate. I also have a PA who helps me a lot. Also, I try to delegate all the practical, mundane tasks to other people”, Matiss explains.
“My planning philosophy is to focus on the outcome list, not on a to-do list. Every evening I make a short outcome list, which outlines the things I want to achieve by the end of the day. When I come to the office I start with the list and focus on my deliverables. I check my email only after the things are done.”
The one productivity-boosting tip he swears by is to focus on a single task at a time. “I keep things focused. Pick one thing as a priority and one thing only, block out distractions, deal with the issue and move on.”
Einaras Gravrock: “Break big tasks into actionable micro steps”
A serial tech entrepreneur, founder, and CEO at CUJO.com, Einaras Gravrock simply can’t afford to give in to lazy habits. He leads a company that protects homes and businesses against network security threats, such as malware, phishing, and ransomware, and his habit to break big tasks into actionable micro steps is what protects him against failure.
“I start my morning by opening the Calm app and doing one of their exercises to get my thoughts and priorities in order. After that, I tackle any urgent tasks that may have come up since the night before. We have teams in multiple countries so for most of my colleagues my morning is their end of the day. That makes the first part of my day quite intense. I leave the creative work for the afternoon.”
As most of the busy entrepreneurs, Einaras is obsessed with seeing results: “I approach each day with ‘what is the biggest thing I can accomplish today’. If I can focus on what’s truly most important for the business, that one thing which will make the biggest difference, then it’s a successful day.”
But he doesn’t rely solely on his mental strength to maintain the productivity levels. The founder of CUJO lists a few productivity tools that make his life easier: “Evernote for notes and personal priorities, Slack for team communication, Yesware for external communication tracking, Pipedrive for CRM, Trello and JIRA for team projects and priorities.”
Ryan Robinson: “Understand the benefits of opportunity management”
Ryan Robinson, a freelance content marketer for high growth startups and tech companies like LinkedIn, Zendesk, Quickbooks, CreativeLive and more, is nothing short of a busy bee. Besides his intense freelance projects, he also teaches more than 200,000 monthly readers how to start a profitable side hustle on his blog ryrob.com.
His days start early. “My ideal morning, call it about three days each week, starts by waking to my FitBit wrist vibration alarm around 5:00 am. After getting up, I’ll shower, have a light breakfast and bike a few miles to my office in downtown San Francisco by around 6:00 am. I get my clearest thinking done in the morning, so I protect that time very carefully. I make sure not to check my email or social notifications until around 9:00 am after I’ve been able to get a solid block of writing, planning or other mission-critical tasks.”
Ryan uses several productivity methods that help him keep the distractions to a minimum. “My favorite productivity hack that saves me a ton of time each day is scheduling 2 x one-hour blocks of time during my day where I’m allowed to look at my inbox & reply to emails. This helps me stay on track with working on the projects that drive the highest return for me, rather than allowing myself to get sucked into and spend the entire day working out of the never-ending inbox.”
The number one habit that keeps him productive and effective is questioning his use of time every day. “I ask myself many times throughout my day, “is this the best possible utilization of my time right now?” I call this opportunity management and write extensively about it on my blog. It’s the habitual thought process that allows me to properly evaluate inbound opportunities. It keeps myself from biting off new projects that aren’t a good fit at the moment. This way I stay focused on my most important goals.”
Bringing It All Together
Boosting and maintaining productivity is an obsession of big and small businesses. It’s what keeps entrepreneur experimenting with their routines, trying to habitualise skills and sharpen their brain. The biggest secret of the million-dollar industry is that there is no one ground-breaking way to getting stuff done. To summarise, I think it is very clear that all of these entrepreneurs are seeking to be organised, on top of their business and their personal lives. Out of all the tips mentioned above, here at Teamgate, we find that the best way to be on the top of your to-do list is to keep setting up tasks and achievable goals each day for every team member.