Face it — founding, running, or working for a startup is hard and can be extremely stressful. The only constant is change, priorities are always shifting, and productivity is the key to success. 

As an entrepreneur or employee at a startup, it’s vital for you to be as productive and efficient as you can. Not only will this help you be more effective and efficient at your job, but it will also help reduce the stress that comes with running and working at a startup.

Below are 10 productivity hacks to start off your year on the right foot.

1. Make your health a priority.

Startups are known for long hours, and when work starts to consume more house of the day, one of the first things to go is your health. It easily falls to the bottom of the priorities list in life. One of the best ways to increase your productivity is to make your health a priority. 

Figure out a schedule that works best for you, but I recommend exercising first thing in the morning. It sets the pace for the day and gives you an energy boost. I also find that exercising first thing in the morning helps me have a more restful sleep at night. 

2. Invest in your workspace.

Whether you work in an office every day or from a home office, invest in an ergonomically comfortable, healthy workspace for your home or office. Being in a comfortable space can make a major difference in your motivation while at work.


3. Find a change of scenery.

If you’re like most people in the 21st century, you spend the vast majority of your time at work at a desk in front of a computer screen. I find that when I’m exhausted and need a change of scenery, working from the break room, a conference room, or standing up makes a major difference in my productivity — especially after lunch.

4. Focus on what you are great at doing. 

“The vast majority of things are distractions, and very few really matter to your success.”

—   Evan Williams, co-founder, Twitter 

Find the things that really do matter to your success, and focus on those things. The problem with to-do or task lists is that they are never fully completed. There is always more to do in a startup. When it comes to running a startup, it is imperative to focus on the most critical items and tasks that will provide the most value to your success and to your customers. You can’t be bogged down by low-priority tasks. Find a way to delegate these tasks or postone them. Focus on the things you are great at doing — the things no one else on your team can accomplish. These are the things that will really matter to your success.

5. Prioritize your sales prospects with lead scoring and automation.

When you are trying to focus on the most important tasks that will provide the greatest value, this also applies to your sales prospects. Use marketing automation and lead scoring to help you prioritize your warmest leads and make the most out of your time selling.

6. Prepare on Sunday nights.

Yes, Sunday is part of the weekend and you should work hard to keep a balanced lifestyle away from work, but many entrepreneurs recommend working a little bit on Sunday evening to plan out your week ahead. It can be a great opportunity to catch up on email, plan out your most important tasks for the upcoming week, and prepare yourself to hit the ground running on Monday morning. This can help you be more productive throughout the rest of the week.

7. Utilize the ever-dreaded commute.

The average commute time in the United States is 25 minutes, according to WNYC. Depending on how you commute to work, you can accomplish a great deal in that 25 minutes.

If you commute via mass transit every day, take that time to catch up on email, detail out your top priorities for the day, listen to voicemails, or listen to an audiobook. I drive in to work every day and have found listening to audiobooks and podcasts to be a very productive use of my commute. I’m able to keep up on current events and further my professional development every morning and afternoon. It also helps me prepare mentally for the day ahead or unwind from a day at work on my drive home.

8. Minimize distractions.

I oftentimes will find myself spending a good deal of time reading blogs, news articles, and whitepapers on the Internet. Even thought these are adding to my industry knowledge and helping me as a create ideas for my next Salesforce blog post, they will routinely distract me from my more important tasks at hand. I have found using services like Pocket help me reduce this time in visiting these sites, but allow me to read them later when I am not focused on accomplishing a specific task.

9. Adopt a project management software.

I have used Trello, Wrike, Asana, Flow, and many other project management softwares over the years. Different tools will be the best option for different teams. Find a software that fits your team and will help you prioritize and collaborate better with your team. Software like Chatter can also help you be more productive when managing a project team and communications relating to a project.

10. Set 90-day goals.

People tend to set yearly resolutions or goals. Yearly goals, though, tend to be easily overlooked and don’t provide for a quick feedback loop. Instead, try setting 90-day goals. This will help your productivity when it comes to long-term goals. It also lets you have a quicker feedback loop on your goals, letting you learn from failures quicker and be able to get back up and try again in the next 90 days.

As Warren Buffett says, "I don't look to jump over seven-foot bars; I look around for one-foot bars that I can step over."

With the right tools, small businesses can learn to punch above their weight. To see how, visit salesforce.com or download the free e-book below.

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