4 productivity tips for time-poor entrepreneurs

All entrepreneurs want to boost their productivity.

As an entrepreneur, I face the same problem that I imagine many people do when running their own business – there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done!

So how did the world's top CEOs get to where they are now? What tricks do they have up their sleeves that allow them to squeeze every drop of productivity out of the day?

I've scoured the internet for the latest research and tips in an effort to discover ways to streamline my day and found some recommendations that really resonated with me. Hopefully, you will find them useful too.

1. Don't dawdle in meetings

A study from management consultancy firm Bain revealed that approximately 15 per cent of a company's time is spent in meetings. One company had a weekly meeting between leaders that consumed a staggering 7,000 hours of time for the attendees per year!

That's not to say meetings are a waste of time; however, you need to stick to the schedule and make sure everyone else stays on track. Otherwise, you can easily soak up valuable minutes that could be better spent on value-added tasks.

2. Don't forget to exercise

I went to an outdoor pursuits focused school in the Drakensburg Mountains, so keeping active and fit has always been a big part of my life. That's why I'm happy to hear that science supports exercise as a productivity booster.

A Stanford University study found that creativity is dramatically improved by walking, particularly problem-solving tasks that require a fresh approach. So if you're stuck on something, consider a brisk stroll to get your creative juices flowing again. 

Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are both known for incorporating walks into their business schedule, so you'll be in fine company if you decide to do the same.

3. Learn to say 'no'

I don't have any research to back this one up, but one of my professional role models Warren Buffett once said:

"The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say 'no' to almost everything."

It's hard to argue with that!

4. Formulate an email strategy

According to the Bain study, today's executives receive around 30,000 external communications each year. In the 1970s, they had to deal with just 1,000.

Email is the biggest culprit and it can be easy to get bogged down in your inbox. Experts suggest various strategies, including setting aside specific times to answer emails each day or limiting every message you send to a certain length.

I hope some of these tips help you boost your productivity, and feel free to comment if you have any advice of your own to share!