Top 10 Productivity Tips from 10-Year Entrepreneurs

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To be successful business owners, we have to constantly be on the lookout for the best productivity tips. We have the determination to apply these productivity tips to our workdays, but we hesitate because we don’t know which ones are really worth the time and effort. 

This is a real dilemma, and it’s why I’ve put together these top 10 productivity tips for you all. I reached out to none other than Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan themselves to get their very best productivity tips to share with you.

Nathan and Connor have been entrepreneurs for the past 10 years. All along they’ve been testing different productivity tips to get more done faster. This post is a report of the productivity tips that they’ve found to be the most effective in their experience. If you want to save time in your day, you want to follow these tips. 

Tip #1:  Plan Priorities Weekly
An arm holding a highlighter over papers with charts and notes on them.

Connor starts his week with planning his priorities. Each Sunday, he plans the top priorities for the week. This is what he uses to guide his days for the upcoming week.

Use part of your rest day at the end of the week to plan the important tasks that you want to get done in the next week. With this outline, you can see the big projects that you have lined up as well as get an idea of all the smaller tasks that you need to knock out of the park. 

Tip #2:  Prepare for the Day Ahead

Connor also sets time aside every night to prepare for the day ahead. He highlights that you need to be specific about how much time to spend on certain projects.

This aspect is vital for productivity. You can’t just look at a list of tasks and expect to be prepared to ace the day. You have to really think about what needs to go into each task. Then you can realistically schedule out the time that you need to dedicate to each task. This way, each task is assigned enough time to get it done properly, and each task gets done by your set deadline.

Tip #3:  Get the Team Organized First

Nate highly recommends getting the team of VAs organized first before you start working. He does this by making sure that everyone is present and on point. Once he’s confident that the team is ready to rock, he can pull back to focus on what’s on his plate.

Make sure that your team is all set up for the day before you start on your scheduled tasks. This way, you are less likely to get pulled away every few minutes because your people aren’t ready for what’s in store.

Tip #4:  Clear Emails Before Opening Chats

Connor spends some time at the start of every day clearing out his emails. He does this on purpose, before getting on Slack in the morning. This helps him to get on the same page with what went on while he was away. Doing this before he starts any conversations with the team or answers any of their questions helps him focus better and avoid the back and forth that can easily happen when we are not staying updated on what’s happening. 

You can also stay more focused on the different areas that you are responsible for by clearing out emails first. Before talking to team members, for example, you can check on clients who have reached out to you. By catching up on these communications, you can be a more effective communicator with the team on what the next steps need to be.

Tip #5:  Work Your Best Hours

Nate has refined the art of working during the hours that he is most productive. As business owners, we have more flexibility in choosing what times in the day we work. Go take advantage of that! Nate gets better results from the time he spends on tasks because he knows when he performs best.

Every person’s productivity level changes throughout the day. And not every person is most productive at the same times of the day. Put some effort into figuring out what times of the day you really crush it. Don’t force yourself to work during times that you are low on energy, for example, or can’t concentrate well. This is stressful and will lower your productivity even further. 

Once you’ve got that down, I recommend that you go a step further to figure out what days of the week you are most productive, and even what weeks of the year you are really on top of your game. This will help you to schedule out bigger or longer term projects more effectively to get even better results.

Tip #6:  Group Meetings Together 

Connor says that it’s important to have all your meetings grouped together so you have blocks of time separated out to work on projects. He makes it a point to schedule all his meetings in the mornings so that his afternoons are free for him to work on projects. He also makes it a point to schedule time off Slack and Skype during the day so that he can focus even better on his tasks.

You don’t have to follow this to the letter. You may be more productive on tasks in the mornings and would rather handle meetings in the afternoons. If this works for the schedules that you have set up with the team, then go for it. If not, you can work it out where you group meetings together on certain days. As long as you stay organized, you should not find your days eaten up by meetings and yourself too drained to work on your projects.

Tip #7:  Ace Your To-Do List

Nate has a to-do list and he keeps it organized and prioritized. He sets it up so that he can tackle the most important tasks first each day. 

As with your daily and weekly planning, don’t just scribble out a few phrases on the back of an envelope. Staying purposefully organized is the first step to being more productive at work. Write down (or type out) tasks clearly so that you have a good understanding of each one and don’t miss any. Then take a couple extra minutes to code them so that you know their order of importance. This will help you to schedule work at the right times so you can do them all not only well, but also faster.

Tip #8:  Don’t Multitask

Nate is a firm believer in not doing multiple tasks at the same time. Some people might think that they are good at multitasking, but research shows that multitasking decreases productivity. You can end up being as much as 40% less productive by trying to do more than one thing at a time.

The key to getting tasks done faster and with accuracy is to focus. This is why planning and organizing are a huge part of these top 10 productivity tips! We need to get prepared so that we have the ability to give tasks our undivided attention. Only then are we able to produce great results. On top of that, we avoid the stress that comes with juggling tasks. And every business owner knows that productivity also goes down the toilet when stress becomes a regular part of our workdays.

Tip #9:  Limit Meetings

Connor and Nate both recommend limiting all meetings to 1 hour at the most. Ideally, they try to keep meetings down to 30 minutes, but only if they are sure that they are not sacrificing clarity or relationships by cutting meetings short. As a great time-saving tip, Connor adds that it is important to also schedule a day of the week where you never have any meetings scheduled. This way, you have a full day set aside for big projects. 

Getting out of the nitty gritty of operations can offer you a much-needed break. You are still working, but you have that one day each week when you don’t have to be so directly involved in the day-to-day of what’s going on.

Tip #10:  Rest Well

Nate takes time off regularly to rest and get away from the business. He does this so that he can come back strong, and he encourages each team member to do the same.

Business owners are prone to falling into the trap of working too much in their businesses. We cannot forget the importance of staying healthy so that we can be the best we can be for our businesses. Don’t think of rest as slacking off — think of it as putting the oxygen mask on yourself first so that you can help others stay safe. Don’t worry about leaving things in others’ hands — spend some time putting a dependable team together so you can get all the rest that you and your business need.

Final Thoughts

As long-time entrepreneurs with 3 successful businesses under their belts, Nate and Connor have a ton of great advice to share. These are just 10 of the top productivity tips that they apply in their own lives to maintain and continually improve their A-game.

Take this select group of tried and tested tips to help you up your game and get more done faster. Start with the first tip and get used to taking the specified actions so that they become second nature to you. Then work your way down the list and watch your productivity soar!


Would you like to know how to be certain who your next hire should be? Or maybe you are having a hard time deciding what parts of your business can be outsourced with virtual assistants, right now. We can help you answer these questions, and help you to discover what new systems you should add to scale your business faster. Set up a free hiring consultation with us at Outsource School today – simply book here!


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