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14 Awesome Hacks Shared By A Startup CEO That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

14 Awesome Hacks Shared By A Startup CEO That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

Want to super boost your productivity? Read on to find out what Matt DeCelles, the co-founder/partner of William Painter, has shared his favorite productivity hacks and tools in Quora.

First off, it’s a 2 step process – prioritization stage and execution stage.

Prioritization Stage

1. Prioritize the most important tasks

Prioritize the most important tasks you need to get done (often the one you are putting off). It is critical to set objectives before working. A great book on this topic is Eat That Frog.

2. Use Trello.com to map out all of the tasks of the company

This gives a macro view of what’s going on and allows you to delegate tasks that may better be completed by another person. AgileZen.comAsana.com and kanbanflow.com are other great Task Management options. Delegation can be one of your best productivity tools!

trello

    3. Delegate (LIKE A BOSS)

    When you enjoy what you do, you will find yourself being much more productive. If you really suck at doing something, chances are there is someone out there that can probably do it for less than $5/hr. Check out Fiverr.comUpwork and ODesk.com etc etc… Slow clap it out for globalization.

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    fiverr

      4. Use a whiteboard to list all of the tasks that are yours to accomplish

      After looking at Trello and delegating out tasks, I put mine on a white board. Usually this is 10-15 tasks.

      *You could also use Evernote or a notepad, but i prefer the whiteboard.

      whiteboard

        5. Use a post-it note to record the 3 most important things

        Use a post-it note to record the 3 most important things you can do on that particular day. The post-it note is beneficial because it has a size constraint.

        post it

          Okay now it comes the fun part.

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          Execution Stage

          6. Set iPhone in Do Not Disturb Mode

          It’s a new feature in iOS 6 that turns off vibrate and all sounds.

          iphone

            6.5 Set Mac in Do Not Disturb Mode (OSX Mountain Lion)

            Pull out the Notification Center on the Mac and scroll up. There is a hidden switch that allows you to shut off Alerts and Banners.

            *Notifications resume automatically the next day in case you forget to turn it back on.

            alert

              7. Remove temptations with Self Control

              SelfControl is a tool that blocks websites you have listed as distracting for a set period of time. Once you set it, there is no way to shut it off until the time expires…which makes you feel like an addict going through withdrawals.  As you notice distractions, be sure to add them to your blacklist.

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              selfcontrol1
                self control

                  8. Use Rescue Time to track your productivity

                  Install RescueTime on your computer and it measures how much time you spend doing particular activities. You then designate whether those activities are productive or not.  It also emails you with a productivity summary for the week.  This will show how much time you spend on Facebook or Youtube per week.

                  *This only needs to be installed once.

                  rescue time

                    9. Use Toggl to track individual task time

                    Start a task and start the timer. It’s shocking to look back on your day and see that it took 10 minutes to send one email etc.
                    *Note* I am not recommending using Toggl all day everyday as it requires too much work and dedication. Use it occasionally to get a picture of where your day goes, both online and offline. It will be eye opening…I promise.

                    toggl

                      10. Take a break when you are not being productive anymore

                      For me I have a really short attention span, and I notice a significant fall off in productivity after about an hour or so of work. Take a break. Go for a walk, do something else. etc…. then get back to work!

                      take a break

                        11. Listen to music

                        Not all music is the same when it comes to being productive. Try out different genres of music and see what works for you. *For me I like music with very few lyrics and has a repetitive beat that gets me almost in a productive trance.

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                        music

                          12. Use VIP Inbox on iOS 6

                          Set up your VIPs (be very selective) and only check those emails. Batch the rest.

                          mailbox

                            13. Batch Your Email (When people are unlikely to respond right away)

                            Email is one of the biggest time wasters. Stay away unless it is absolutely critical to your previously set objectives.

                            Remember that the more emails you send throughout the day, the more you receive. It’s a vicious cycle. 

                            *I batch emails at night or early in the morning when people are less likely to respond right away. It is amazing how fast you can blow through a few hundred emails when you are not replying to instant responses and can move on to other tasks.

                            cycle

                              14. Add “sent from my iPhone” to all email accounts signatures.

                              This way people don’t get upset with you for keeping your emails brief and getting right to the point.

                              sent from iphone

                                Featured photo credit: Businessman adjusting his tie – closeup shot via shutterstock.com

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                                Last Updated on August 7, 2018

                                14 Powerful Leadership Traits That All Great Leaders Have

                                14 Powerful Leadership Traits That All Great Leaders Have

                                Being a leader of a company or organization is certainly a difficult and often frustrating position – but it can also be tremendously rewarding.

                                Whether you’re just starting out as a leader, or have been leading for a while, you’ll be sure to benefit from knowing the essential traits that all great leaders possess.

                                Effective and successful leaders transcend the title of ‘manager’ or ‘boss’. They’ve found a way to achieve the perfect combination of charisma, enthusiasm and self-assurance (with a healthy dose of luck and timing probably added to the mix).

                                It may seem like some people are gifted with leadership skills, but the truth is most leadership traits can be learned, adopted, and strengthened with time and practice.

                                As we delve into the list of effective leadership traits, you will learn the behaviors and attitudes of a good leader.

                                The 14 most important leadership traits

                                Please read through the list of leadership qualities carefully. Take note of which of the traits you excel at – and which ones you need to work at.

                                Traits for better self-development

                                1. Vision and mission

                                Having a clear picture of what needs to be achieved is a crucial quality of good leadership.

                                This vision is often communicated in a mission statement, such as this one from Starbucks:

                                  How to develop vision? Spend time pinpointing what you need to achieve, and then plan the steps to get there. Here’s a complete guide on creating your own vision.

                                  2. Self-motivated

                                  It’s no coincidence that successful leaders have an abundance of self-motivation.

                                  Without a decent level of self-motivation, you’ll struggle to become a strong and respected leader. However, if you don’t have a lot of self-motivation right now, don’t despair.

                                  One of the secrets is to have definite goals to keep you motivated at all times. Some people also choose to reward themselves every time they achieve a goal, and this is certainly a good way to keep yourself enthused and motivated. Learn how to set an ambitious yet achievable goal here.

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                                  3. Optimism and positivity

                                  Positive energy is contagious. Great leaders are overflowing with this type of energy.

                                  Not only does a positive mindset make leaders easy to work with, but it also gives them a constant source of inspiration and ideas.

                                  Tap into this energy by aligning yourself with positive people and positive goals. Find out more about the habits of positive people here.

                                  4. Emotional stability

                                  In leadership positions, frustration and stress are daily occurrences. This is why leaders need to have strong and stable emotions. They can’t allow themselves to be easily knocked off track.

                                  If you’re prone to losing your emotional stability when stressed or frustrated, try some of these techniques: breath deeply and slowly for 30 seconds, go for a walk, drink some water (instead of tea or coffee), turn your focus onto something you can resolve. Here’re some effective ways to control your emotions.

                                  5. Self-confidence

                                  Watch a presentation by any CEO and you’ll see that even if they’re not natural presenters – they make up for this by having powerful self-confidence.

                                  It’s not just CEOs who have self-confidence, any successful leader will have this trait in abundance. One reason for this, is that only a confident person can persuade others and gain their respect.

                                  Worried that you have low self-confidence? Try faking it. Psychologists often recommend that if you ‘act’ at being confident, you’ll start to look, sound and feel like you ARE confident. And in time… you will be.

                                  If you look for more ways to boost your self-confidence, this confidence coach has got you some nice advice:

                                  How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

                                  6. Decisiveness

                                  Leaders are frequently called upon to make decisions (some leaders may have to make dozens of decisions every day). In fact, you could say that making decisions is one of the key things a leader must do.

                                  Spend some time observing highly-successful leaders and you’ll see that they are quick to make decisions. They also enjoy making decisions, rather than stressing out like many non-leaders do when they’re asked to decide on something.

                                  Put yourself in the leadership bracket by developing your decision-making skills. Start with small decisions – and then work your way up to bigger and more difficult decisions. Once other people notice your decision-making prowess, they’ll automatically see you as leadership material.

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                                  I know it’s really quite difficult to make the right decisions sometimes, but don’t worry, here’s a guide for you:

                                  How To Make Good Decisions All The Time

                                  7. Passion and enthusiasm

                                  Expressive. Active. Energetic. These are words best describe a passionate leader.

                                  Great leaders are lively, driven and are possessed with zeal and purpose. It’s this passion that helps them achieve big results. If you want to emulate their success, then you need to develop passion and enthusiasm for the work at hand, and the end goals.

                                  Take a look at this Passion Pyramid to find out how importance a leader’s passion is to the team:

                                    One way to do this is to find what motivates you, and keep your focus firmly on that. For example, i f you’re motivated by helping others, then make sure your role and company are both suited to realizing this. If you’re motivated by money, then put your focus on achieving bonuses and pay rises.

                                    Take a look at Leo Babauta’s guide on how to find your passion.

                                    8. Accountability and responsibility

                                    Exceptional leaders know that at all times they’ll need to take responsibility for tasks and their results. This includes things likes individual and team performance, as well as being accountable for when things go wrong.

                                    When negative things occur (and you can guarantee they will from time-to-time), a great leader will immediately step in and take responsibility. Initially, they’ll try to resolve the problem in as quick and smooth a way as possible. But if this is not feasible, they’ll be sure to say that the buck stops with them – and they take full responsibility for what has happened.

                                    To develop your leadership skills, you must never shy away from responsibility or accountability. If you prefer to sweep mistakes under the carpet, then you’re demonstrating non-leadership traits. Try owning up to issues and finding solutions to them. By doing this, you’ll immediately gain people’s respect.

                                    Find out some tips on how to be a more responsible person here.

                                    9. Focus

                                    Distractions are everywhere. And it takes major focus to stay committed to tasks and goals. The best leaders understand this, and therefore, they’re always looking at ways to boost their team’s focus.

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                                    One way leaders do this, is to keep their team intensely focused on the bigger picture. This might entail allocating specific time for tasks and eliminating any non-essential work.

                                    If you’re easily knocked off track, you’ll need to spend some time boosting your focus. Try planning your day, week, month and year to help ensure that you don’t fall behind with achieving your goals. Check out the 7 strategies of staying super focus recommended by a productivity coach.

                                    10. Ever-learning

                                    Leaders know that to be successful they need to continually update their skills and knowledge. They deliberately learn all they can about their profession and industry, so they’ll able to make confident and assured decisions.

                                    Why is ever learning so important? I’ll leave it to you to find out the reason here:

                                    If I Am Living a Good Life, Why Should I Bother Learning New Stuff?

                                    Imagine a CEO of a solar power company. His company may have amazing solar panels, but when it comes to discussing business with potential buyers, if the CEO or his sales team show a lack of understanding about the solar industry and future trends, etc., they’ll be unlikely to win any business.

                                    It’s exactly the same for you. If you’re a team leader at an electronics store, you should make sure you fully understand all the products that you offer. But go beyond just that, and read about upcoming products and trends that might change what customers are interesting in buying in the future.

                                    Traits for effective communication

                                    11. Empathy

                                    The best leaders understand the feeling of their team members, customers and associates. They know when to praise, and when to discuss problems (usually in private).

                                    Without empathy, leaders will be seen as cold, harsh and lacking understanding. They’re also likely to be regarded as untrustworthy.

                                    One way to ‘put yourself in someone else’s shoes’ is to have regular informal discussions with your colleagues. When you do this, you’ll quickly learn their fears and desires. And when you understand why they have these – you’ll be in a position to express empathy. You can also learn to be more sensitive to others’ needs by taking up these communication skills.

                                    12. Persuasive and influential

                                    Communications are at the heart of all transactions. Whether it’s pitching for a sale or resolving a customer complaint, how you communicate will determine the outcome.

                                    Charismatic leaders such as Richard Branson (Virgin) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) are confident and persuasive communicators. They know how to win over audiences and leave a lasting impressing in people’s minds.

                                    There’re some common barriers that you’ll have to overcome in order to communicate effectively:

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                                    How to learn effective communication? You could join the world-renowned U.S. nonprofit Toastmasters International. They’ve been training people in the art of public speaking since 1924, and members have included Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, and Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy.

                                    If you don’t have time to join a club, then practice your communications skills at home. You can do this in front of a mirror, or even better, video yourself presenting, and then ask some friends and family members for feedback. You’ll be amazed at what they pick up on.

                                    Traits for ensuring an engaging team

                                    13. Team building

                                    If you put a bunch of random people together, you may have a loose definition of a team. In reality, a real team has purpose, drive – and a leader lighting the way.

                                    If you’ve worked in different teams and with different managers, you’ll no doubt have come to this conclusion:

                                    Managers who treat their team members like children are unpopular with the team. Conversely, managers who treat their team members like adults, are respected and well-liked by the team.

                                    The days of disciplinarian managers are passed. Nowadays, successful team leaders know how to inspire and motivate their team, while keeping a harmonious atmosphere between all team members.

                                    14. Fostering creativity

                                    Solutions to problems are rarely black and white. Often it takes a leader who can ‘think outside the box’ to come up with answers. In other words, a leader must be creative, and also help to foster creativity and innovation throughout their team.

                                    Creativity is not only associated with pursuits such as arts, literature and music, running a team can be just as creative. There will be times every day when you need to come up with ideas and give guidelines for your team to come up with theirs to solve problems.

                                    Leadership is a journey of continuous learning

                                    Leadership is an amazing experience that will take you on roads you’ve never traveled before.

                                    Begin now to build your skills and experience, pick out the traits that you currently lack – and then work on developing those.

                                    It will take tons of practice and time before becoming an effective leader but eventually you will join the ranks of great leaders.

                                    Featured photo credit: unsplash via unsplash.com

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