8 Productivity Tips I Learned From Interviewing 100 Successful Entrepreneurs

8 Productivity Tips I Learned Interviewing 100 Successful Entrepreneurs

As a hopeless daydreamer, I often laugh at my past. For instance, not long ago, I placed ‘Organization‘ under my list of strengths. Once I jumped into the world of entrepreneurship, I hit the ground with a spine-shaking thump.

Let me guess, you're nodding right now, aren't you?

Oh yes, we come up with the darndest things when we’re younger. I no longer consider ‘organization‘ a strength, neither in a working or personal sense. I try to be (thank you iCal, Evernote, and Wunderlist), but each day slips through my fingertips.

Yet, I’m more organized today than ever before. Why? Because of my book, The Successful Mistake, and the 150+ wise entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed along the way.

If you want to improve in this fast and furious world, surround yourself with like-minded people further along the road than you. It’s as simple as that. Each time I chat with these wonderful individuals, I gobble up their wisdom. They’ve taught me a lot, and productivity is high on the list.

I won’t say I’m organized per se, but these 8 Productivity Tips may save your day:

1: USE FOLLOW-UP REMINDERS

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from contacting 1,000 successful entrepreneurs, it’s the value of following-up. A single email rarely works, but a second often does.

Remembering who to follow-up, and when is tricky, so be sure to use a tool like FollowUp.cc, Boomerang, or Sanebox. Not only do you save time, but sanity, too.

 

2: EMBRACE TEMPLATES, BUT…

If you send virtually the same email over-and-over again (like I do for The Successful Mistake), create a template and save it in your ‘draft folder‘. This saves precious time, and helps you avoid silly typing errors, too.

BUT, be sure to personalise every email with a short and snappy introduction. You’re not a robot, and the other person isn’t an idiot.

 

3: REPLY TO EMAILS IN SHORT BURSTS

Marianne Cantwell only checks her email once or twice a week, and Srini Rao deleted most of his Smartphone Apps so they wouldn’t distract him throughout the day.

You may not be ready for such a leap, but focussing on email in a few short bursts is something we can all do. Since doing this myself, I’ve saved so much time and stress.

 

4: LESS IS ALWAYS MORE

When I first emailed these busy individuals, I felt obliged to explain who I was in great detail. I figured I had to convince them to take me seriously with a long list of reasons why.

First of all, they don’t have time to read your rambling email. Second, you don’t have time to write one. Keep it short and get to the point. Greg Hickman uses the 5 Sentence rule, treating email like a text message. I love this, not only for email, but life in general.

 

5: UNDERSTAND YOURSELF BETTER

When Ari Meisel discovered he had Crohn’s Disease, he monitored and analysed his entire life. Within months, he cured himself, all because he developed a better understanding of who he was.

If you want to become more productive, track what you do and don’t do, how long it takes, and how much money you spend. The better you know yourself, the more you can tweak, improve, and grow.

 

6: VALIDATE EVERYTHING

Successful people spend their time wisely. Clay Collins introduced me to validating ideas, but I know many people who do it (Tom Morkes, Danny Fein, Danny Iny).

Before dedicating time to a new idea, ensure people want it, will buy it, and that it brings value to their lives. After all, you wouldn’t arrange a meal with a friend without asking them first, would you?

 

7: RUN AWAY

Most people assume the harder and longer you work, the more you get done. True, to an extent, but sometimes you need to run away.

When he lost his business, Corbett Barr took a six-week trip to Mexico. When the property implosion hit, Desiree East escaped to Bali for six months. As crazy as it sounds, running away often helps, because it breeds new ideas and ensures you focus on the right things. In the long-term, this saves time, stress, and money.

 

8: LEARN TO SAY NO

I have trouble saying no, and I sense you do, too. Successful people, on the other hand, tend to be good at it. Take Erin Blaskie, for instance, who said yes far too often.

Spiralling out of control, her business got away from her. Saying no gave her the power to take it back. It’s not to say you shouldn’t embrace opportunity, but you have to feel comfortable with turning down that invitation… that coffee… that Skype chat

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I’m not organised enough, but compared to a year ago… DAMN, life’s easier!

Today, I appreciate my time more than ever, and hope these 8 tips help you regain some of it. What about you? Add your best productivity tip in the comments below, and let’s see how many we can create

TURNDOG

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Hi, my name is Turndog, and I’m an Author, Brand Storyteller & Speaker who spends each day Discovering, Creating & Sharing Inspiring Stories. I keep busy with lots of storytelling goodness, but at the minute I’m writing THE SUCCESSFUL MISTAKE: a book about overcoming your #GreatMistake and transforming it into your best idea yet.

I’ve already interviewed 100+ Successful & Inspiring Entrepreneurs (click the link to see who), but I invite you to Join This Band of Merry Misfits, and be part of the entire process: sneak peek content, weekly updates, your suggestions encouraged at all times… Oh, and if you like Free Books and a chance to mingle with other quirky entrepreneurs, be sure to say hello and Join The Fun!

13 Responses to 8 Productivity Tips I Learned Interviewing 100 Successful Entrepreneurs

  1. Yes!!! Some of these I’ve mastered but most I’m still learning in my first year as an entrepreneur. Although I sometimes feel pesky following up a second (or third!) time, it is so necessary! Followup.cc has been great to me.

  2. Deane Alban says:

    Like you batch emails in #3, I try to batch everything. Once I’m in the groove I get a lot more accomplished than I do when constantly switching back and forth between different tasks. That being said I also only stick to one thing for an hour at a time. That way I don’t get burned out.

  3. Oh yes, getting in the groove is key, and when you flip from one thing to the other, it’s so hard. I’m still mastering the discipline for this, but I’m getting there. After all, email (99% of the time) can wait!

  4. Isn’t it an amazing little tool?

    I’m like you, two or three follow-ups make me uncomfortable, but like you say, depending on the task, it’s needed. The amount of times I’ve heard back from someone on the third or fourth message… a lot haha

  5. Dubem Menakaya says:

    Yeah love theses! I always say entrepreneurship is a simple game made to look difficult by great players. It’s always about doing the fundementals! Thank you I am going to start implementing!

  6. Tom says:

    Great stuff Matthew!

  7. Thanks Dubme, and yes, we make it far more difficult than it is sometimes. A step back is often the answer

  8. Thanks Tom. Hope you liked your cheeky mention 😉

  9. Vision Shine says:

    Cool tips to boost the productivity. Thanks :)

  10. Thank you. Glad you liked them

  11. Dan Erickson says:

    Good points, but I think we put too much emphasis on these others we try to be like. We are not all the same and there is no exclusive club.

  12. Azhar Sohail says:

    I learned a lot methew n thnx a lot

  13. HeatherHeavisidebol says:

    My Uncle Dominic recently got a stunning blue Volkswagen Touareg SUV by working parttime at home… have a peek here PROJECT PROFIT

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