How to be the Most Productive Founder
A Practical Guide For The Busy Startup Founder
Being an entrepreneur is a lot of things. It’s an education in business, leadership, product development, marketing, sales, and management. But the thing that I think gets the most attention (and rightly so) is Productivity.
The problem with online productivity advice is that it often either:
- Doesn’t apply to you; or
- Doesn’t apply to you at the current stage you’re at in your startup.
So instead of giving you a 10 step program for being more productive, I’m going to lay out 3 things that I’m doing right now as a founder and that I think all founders should be doing:
- Keep a log of what you do each day (even if it’s just for 20 minutes).
- Write down 3 things that are blocking your success right now. Do something about them today. Tomorrow, do something else about them. And so on until they’re gone.
- Have a way to track where your time goes each day and adjust accordingly (ex: RescueTime). If you’re not tracking your time…you’re flying blind and wasting it! This can be as simple as having a journal or something more advanced like RescueTime or Toggl.
Productivity is a very personal thing. Some people are more productive with a whiteboard and marker.
Others need timers, graphs, and charts. Some can only focus with music on, others need absolute silence to concentrate.
The trick is finding what works for you and then doing it every day until you’re in the habit of being productive.
But before we get started, I have to warn you: Productivity isn’t easy to implement or maintain over time if it isn’t something you’re inherently good at (which most of us aren’t).
You’ll have to work at it every day and that’s okay because the results are worth it!
How I Track My Productivity
I keep a journal of everything I do each day even if it’s just for 20 minutes.
This helps me see what things I can adjust or improve upon when my productivity starts to slip in the future (and I’m sure it will slip).
In addition, this is a great way to reflect on what went right or wrong during the day so that I can do more of the right stuff in the future.
This is the most basic way to track your productivity. It’s cheap, easy and it forces you to reflect on the day’s work.
And if you keep at it for a few months, you’ll have a treasure trove of data to look back on and compare over time.
The other thing I do is use RescueTime (a free tool) to track what websites I visit and how much time I spend on them each day.
One of my goals this year is to cut down the amount of time I spend on Reddit and Facebook and this will help me see if my time allocation changes are working or not.
You can also use RescueTime to block certain applications or websites from using your time at certain times (ie: block Facebook for an hour after 4 PM so you don’t end up wasting any more time there).
This isn’t something I’m currently doing but it could be a useful tool in the future for me since I’m trying to get more focused during work hours (fewer distractions).
I’m also going to start tracking my sleep habits with Sleep Cycle which will tell me how well-rested I was throughout the night by measuring my heart rate during sleep.
This will help me make sure I get enough sleep and will also let me know when my sleep schedule starts to slip.
Why am I doing all of this?
It will help me see how I’m spending my time so that I can adjust and improve upon it, hopefully leading to a happier, more productive life outside of the office as well.
About the Author
I am the Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and angel investor in other Startups of my other interests (Proptech, Fintech, HRtech, Ride-hailing, C2C marketplaces, and SaaS). You can also find me on Cudy for early-stage Startup Founder mentorship and advice.
You can connect with me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderlhk) and let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.