3 Successful Entrepreneurs Share Their Productivity Secrets
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
We're all busy, but how do the super successful mange to fit everything in? How does a thought leader grow a website subscriber base to nearly one million? How does a serial entrepreneur juggle yet another business?
We caught up with three high profile entrepreneurs and asked them for their secrets of time management. Each had a method for getting more out of each day. Here’s their advice for small-business owners, entrepreneurs and anyone else who wants to increase their productivity:
Amanda Steinberg: Delegate the Small Stuff
Amanda Steinberg is the founder of the popular financial website DailyWorth. A driven and dedicated business owner, she launched her venture-backed company in 2009 on the same week she gave birth to her daughter. Steinberg's method for managing it all is delegation.
"My secret weapon is my personal assistant, who I hired through thebacanaplan.com," she says. Bacana Plan is a company that provides business services such as personal assistants, bookkeepers and tech support. "Having the right people around me has been my key to productivity," Steinberg says.
A single mom of two young children, Steinberg says she knew she needed help when she was missing business appointments that she hadn’t written on her calendar. "Too much of my life felt out of control, and it was stuff that I couldn't sacrifice," she says. Steinberg has her assistant handle everything from fixing her broken smartphone case to scheduling her son’s doctor appointment. "My ability to kick her small tasks saves me endless time," she says. "Doing those things could take hours of my day."
Steinberg says an entrepreneur can’t be truly successful until they learn to delegate.
"If you don't learn to delegate, you risk never getting anywhere and burning out from frustration," she says. "Is that worth the risk?" Even if you can't afford to hire your own personal assistant, look at what tasks bog down your day and think about who you can delegate them to, perhaps an administrate assistant or an intern.
Grant Cardone: Divide Your Hours
While in college, New York Times best-selling author and sales expert Grant Cardone learned about a time management secret used by Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve.
"He chopped up his hour into 15-minute increments," says Cardone who is also a contributor to Entrepreneur.com. "I became fascinated with this theory and found that when you divide up an hour, you multiply the available time by four."
Cardone says handling hours in smaller increments changes how you view the concept of time. He schedules his day in 15-minute increments, with no open space. For example, he schedules 15-minute meetings with his team.
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"When you start a meeting and say you have 14 minutes 59 seconds, you tend to handle the things that are most important," he says. "I honor time and truly believe time is money. People will agree with that, but very few people actually treat time like money."
"You have to pay attention to time. It’s difficult to pay attention to an hour, but anyone can focus on 15 minutes and become more efficient," he explains.
Angela Jia Kim: Create a Daily Action Plan
"My secret weapon is my Daily Action Plan," says Angela Jia Kim, founder of Om Aroma & Co., an organic line of skin care products, and co-founder of Savor the Success, a women’s business networking group. "Without it I’m useless."
With two thriving companies as well as a spa in New York's West Village, Kim is in and out of meetings all day. "I have so much to do," she says. "If I didn’t put it on paper and organize and prioritize, I'd feel like a piece of paper flying around in the wind. My Daily Action Plan staples my day together."
Unable to find a system that could handle her needs, Kim designed her own, with sections that include 'Brain Dump,' a list of everything on her mind that day; 'Three Frogs,' her three most important tasks; and 'Three Ships,' tasks that have the potential to bring rewards, such as making a sales call or working on a proposal. It's part of her Manifest Method, a workbook and daily planning system she hopes to publish later this year.
"I take five to ten minutes filling it out each day," she says. "It puts me in CEO mindset. I literally spend 80 percent of my time in high-dividend long strategy planning instead of spending a day putting out fires."
Related: To-Do Lists Not Working? Try This Time-Management Alternative