Joshua Conran is the Managing Partner at Deksia.View all articles written by this author
Over the years, I’ve learned that productivity is a skill that takes time to develop– especially as a self-made business leader. And I know I’m not alone. Ask any entrepreneur whether they’re busy and pressed for time, and they will probably laugh in your face. It comes with the territory. But luckily, I’ve learned a few hacks to ensure my teammates and I are getting the most out of our time.
Here are six productivity tips I’ve gleaned from my years as an entrepreneur:
The traditional 9-to-5 workday is no longer in vogue. If you’re more alert and ready to go in the morning, get to the office at 6 a.m. so you can jet out by 2 p.m. And if you’re a night owl, pop in at noon and close up shop on your way out.
A word to the wise: avoid burning the candle at both ends. Don’t make a habit of going in early and staying late; it will take a toll on your personal life. And in the long term, this practice may actually damage your productivity because you’ll never get a chance to recharge. You can’t take care of your business if you can’t take care of yourself.
At the beginning of each day (or the night before), write out your to-do list and prioritize the top things you need to get done. I also find it incredibly helpful to use calendars and schedules to keep me focused, allotting myself time to accomplish each task.
Technology can be a godsend to productivity, but it can also be a time suck. I have apps that allow me to sync my calendars and task lists to my devices, which is great. However, I’ve also spent countless hours trying to figure out programs in the name of productivity to no avail.
When it comes to technology solutions to aid productivity, leaders must weigh the time investment in learning the technology against how much it will actually improve productivity in the long term.
No one knows your strengths and weaknesses better than you do, so choose productivity hacks that work for you. If you pay more attention to automated lists and reminders on your devices, use technology to aid your productivity. But if your mind works best by writing tasks out and physically ticking them off, invest in a killer planner, a giant desk calendar, and a fancy pen.
Being a more productive leader isn’t limited to checking things off of your personal list – it also involves the ability to encourage others to cross things off their lists. The power is in your whole organization doing many tasks at once. If you can help others achieve their goals, you’ll be able to lead your company in being more productive.
One of the best productivity hacks I’ve learned is to hire people who are better at specific things than I am. I actively work to ensure I’m the dumbest person in the room. By doing this, I become less needed on a daily basis to complete projects, and the company’s talent accomplishes more than I ever could.
When my team accomplishes more and becomes increasingly independent, I’m able to focus on the big-picture tasks I’m responsible for. As a result, my company can continue to grow and evolve
As you develop as an entrepreneur, I’m sure you’ll find additional (and even better) ways to improve your productivity. After you put your own list together, I hope you share your hacks with me so I can still be the dumbest productive person in the room.
This article originally appeared on inc.com.