6 Successful Founders Reveal How They Stay Productive


Everyone  looks for better ways to be more productive at work or better still to do more at work and be a lot more efficient. Most successful business leaders and founders will tell you to create a do-list, plan your day according to the most important, biggest task, not the smallest and easiest to be efficient or follow an 80/20 rule.

Well, some of the most successful  founders have shared with the public what they do on daily basis to stay productive.  These 6 entrepreneurs and founders reveal how they work and what they do to stay productive at work.

Dick Costolo

Co-founder of Feedburner and current CEO @Twitter

One thing I try to impress on all managers is that they make sure everyone on their team understands what they understand. When that happens, office politics kind of drift away.

I try to spend a lot of time with people outside my direct reports. The view from the top is totally distorted. If you only spend time with your directs, you have no perspective on what’s really going on.

I also try to set an example by telling the staff when I screw up. That is super-important because it empowers everyone to say to me or to their manager, “I screwed up. What should I do?” I want everyone on my team doing that and not covering up mistakes and not getting help they need.

I have created a management course, and I teach it myself because I want my managers to realize how important it is to me that they manage correctly.

 A lot of young managers think they have to be omniscient. They think, “I’m the manager, I’m supposed to know that.” I tell them, “It’s not your job to be omniscient. It’s not your job to make all the decisions. It’s your job to make sure the right decisions get made.”

Guy Kawasaki

Author, publisher and founder of ACIUS and Fog City Software, venture capital fund Garage, and Alltop

For the intellectual challenge, I never make lists. I challenge myself to remember what to do in order to delay the decay of my brain. On time saving, I really don’t have many shortcuts.

I simply work long and hard, hacking away at the challenges I face all the time. I have a home office, but I do much of my writing at Cafe La Tartine in Redwood City, Cafe Barrone in Menlo Park, and Ann’s Coffee Shop in Menlo Park.

 I also fly a lot and have written much of my books in Virgin American 2C and United Airlines 1A. 

Brian Lam

He run Gizmodo for five years, then started The Wirecutter.

 If you’re building or rebooting your career, take it step-by-step, and figure out where your old and new talents overlap. Focus on the big picture and focus hard on each step, because it’s too easy to get lost in a bunch of little meaningless tasks.

Say no to things that are a waste of your time. All of this is probably obvious to half of you, but it’s worth repeating: Focus, ignore, one step at a time. Also, this is not advice. It’s just something that’s worked for me.

Aaron Levie

Co-founder and CEO of Box.com

My workday begins around 11 a.m., with a cup of black coffee in each hand. If I had more hands, there would be more coffee. I head straight into the first of half a dozen daily meetings.

I have an open calendar system, so anyone can put a meeting on my calendar. I meet frequently with sales, marketing, product design, engineering, recruiting, finance, and customers. And less frequently with investors and the board.

I don’t have an assistant. I use a yellow pad of paper to keep track of what I have to do each day. I get very involved with product design–anything the customer touches. I spend about five to 10 hours a week on that. I care a lot about micro details.

I’m also very involved in hiring. We have about 15 recruiters, and I talk with them two or three times a day. I have to know what happened in the world before I can possibly complete my day.

David Sacks

A former PayPal executive and founder of Yammer.com (acquired by Microsoft)

This is how he worked before Microsoft acquired Yammer.

I check my e-mail first thing in the morning. If I get sucked in, I might still be in my boxers three hours later. I have an open-door policy, and I’ve found that proximity matters. People are more likely to come see me if I’m nearby.

I try to leave a lot of my time unstructured so that I can drill into whatever I think is most important that day. Product design is my main focus. Everyone in our company uses Yammer, which is great, because you have better intuitions about a product that you yourself use. I check Twitter every day.

I read every single tweet that mentions Yammer. I also get Google Alerts, so anytime somebody writes about us online, I read it. I meet with our sales managers at the beginning of each quarter. Sales is probably the area in which I’ve had to learn the most.

I typically work pretty late. I have to make a special effort to make it home for dinner. I wish I were more disciplined.

Jennifer Hyman

Co-founder, Rent the Runway( an online shop to rent dresses & accessories by famous designers)

The first thing I do in the morning is look at my iPhone calendar, so I can figure out how to dress.  My Mondays and Tuesdays are pretty packed with staff meetings. I like to schedule them early in the week, so I can influence the agenda.

We have a fashion meeting every Tuesday. That’s when we look at what’s working and what isn’t. I’ve always had a deep awareness of what I don’t know.

I’ve made a point of surrounding myself with people who are great at all the things that I also need to be great at, now that I’m running this company. I talk with my investors several times a week.

 

Originally published on Lifehacker.com (This Is How I Work series)  and Inc.com (The Way I Work series)


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