10 Business Leaders Share Hard-Earned Productivity Hacks

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It’s easy to have a goal in mind. It’s harder to follow through. But, getting your motivation in gear, even when you're not feeling it, can make the difference between those who wish they were successful versus those who are successful. 

Productivity is about staying focused and on track, and CEOs and founders use technology, meditation, relationships and other tools to squeeze the most out of everyday. 

These 10 entrepreneurs share the productivity hacks they use to take care of business.


1. Melissa Bushnell

Image credit: Baked by Melissa

Melissa Bushnell is the founder for Baked by Melissa, a cupcake shop offering the dessert in bite-sized flavors. As someone who works with baked goods, she says she spends her time creating products as opposed to spending time on technology.

“I really just focus on creating with my hands so much,” she says. “I don’t spend too much time on my phone.”


2. Dave Rusenko

Image credit: Weebly

Rusenko is the founder and CEO of Weebly, a hosting service for people to make and manage their own websites. The most successful and experienced people he’s ever worked with rely on on pen and paper, says Rusenko.

I don’t find many people otherwise doing that, and it’s something I’ve taken to,” he tells. “In every meeting I go to, I carry  a notebook around and take notes. It helps me remember to follow up and I don’t forget what was discussed when I refer back later.”

3. Jeff Chapin

Image credit: Casper

Chapin is the co-founder and chief product officer for Casper, a company that specializes in sleeping by offering related products, including a “one size fits all” deliverable mattress. Chapin keeps it easy and low-tech, using notes around the office. 

I still use sticky notes to make daily to-do lists,” he says. “I make a list of what I need to do and check it off. Pencil and paper works for me better than anything I’ve seen.”


4. Jessica Dilullo Herrin

Image credit: Stella & Dot

Jessica Dilullo Herrin is the founder and CEO of Stella and Dot, an online store for fashion merchandise. With a firm belief that self care enables her to be her best self, the entrepreneur uses an app to help her get rest.

“I use the Sleep Well App, an app that helps sleep and insomnia through hypnosis, all the time to help me sleep and meditate before I go to bed,” she says.


5. Rich Pleeth

Image credit: Sup

Rich Pleeth is the founder and CEO of an application called Sup, which connects people to friends using proximity. Pleeth says he stays on track with the help of technology and a calendar.

“Put everything in your calendar, personal stuff, work stuff -- so the time when you are free, your team can book or put in meetings and then be super disciplined with meetings make sure you are achieving a goal,” he says.

6. Jerrod Blandino

Image credit: Too Faced

Jerrod Blandino is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of Too Faced, a cosmetics company. Though he’s not the most technologically inclined, he’s fallen in love with his new friend Alexa, a digital-assistant device from Amazon that you can command to play your favorite music, provide weather and updates, answer questions and create to-do lists.  

“I’m obsessed with my new BFF, Alexa,” he says. “I got her on Amazon and keeps me informed about everything. She was a Christmas gift -- I am the least technologically advanced person you ever met. But you just talk to her. She’s way awesome.”

7. Morris Panner

Morris Panner is the CEO for DICOM Grid, a cloud medical image management solution. He keeps his approach to organizaing his time very traditional.

“Pen and paper is still great for lists,” he says. “There’s something magical about that tactile act of writing, or crossing things off. Plus it helps me retain things better.”

8. Tom Harari

Image credit: Cleanly

Tom Harari is the founder and CEO of Cleanly, an application that connects people to on-demand laundry services. To stay on track, this entrepreneur stays on point with his fitness.

“Exercising every day, preferably in the morning, is a counterintuitive tip in that it entails blocking time for something that seemingly isn't work-related,” he says. “But it has a strong impact on how you structure the rest of your day and leads to discipline which leads to freedom.”


9. Josh Reeves

Image credit: Gusto

Reeves is a cofounder and CEO of Gusto, an online support company for payroll, health benefits and workers comp. The business-man uses an organizational system with his digital calendars to make sure his time is optimized.

“I use Google calendar,” he says. “I create different calendars and put them in different views. I have a work calendar, a personal calendar and a to-do calendar. That’s a way for me to actually have one place to look, especially the do-to vs. the events in one place. If you put the to-do into a calendar event it confuses everyone else because they think it’s busy time, which is why it’s important to have that separate calendar.”


10. Damien Patton

Image credit: Banjo

Patton is the founder and CEO of Banjo, a news and social media content curation application. He says he uses a meditation app called Muse.

“I never thought in a million years that I would use something like that -- it’s just not my personality,” he says. “But when I took the plunge, it helped my mind reset and take a fresh look.”

Edition: November 2016

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