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3 Successful Entrepreneurs Share Their Productivity Secrets

We’re all busy, but how do the super successful manage to fit everything in?

Stephanie Vozza

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Secrets

How does a thought leader grow a website subscriber base to nearly one million? How does a serial entrepreneur juggle yet another business?

We caught up with three high profile entrepreneurs and asked them for their secrets of time management. Each had a method for getting more out of each day. Here’s their advice for small-business owners, entrepreneurs and anyone else who wants to increase their productivity:

Amanda Steinberg: Delegate the Small Stuff

Amanda Steinberg is the founder of the popular financial website DailyWorth. A driven and dedicated business owner, she launched her venture-backed company in 2009 on the same week she gave birth to her daughter. Steinberg’s method for managing it all is delegation.

“My secret weapon is my personal assistant, who I hired through thebacanaplan.com,” she says. Bacana Plan is a company that provides business services such as personal assistants, bookkeepers and tech support. “Having the right people around me has been my key to productivity,” Steinberg says.

A single mom of two young children, Steinberg says she knew she needed help when she was missing business appointments that she hadn’t written on her calendar. “Too much of my life felt out of control, and it was stuff that I couldn’t sacrifice,” she says.

Steinberg has her assistant handle everything from fixing her broken smartphone case to scheduling her son’s doctor appointment. “My ability to kick her small tasks saves me endless time,” she says. “Doing those things could take hours of my day.”

Steinberg says an entrepreneur can’t be truly successful until they learn to delegate.

“If you don’t learn to delegate, you risk never getting anywhere and burning out from frustration,” she says. “Is that worth the risk?” Even if you can’t afford to hire your own personal assistant, look at what tasks bog down your day and think about who you can delegate them to, perhaps an administrate assistant or an intern.

Grant Cardone: Divide Your Hours

While in college, New York Times best-selling author and sales expert Grant Cardone learned about a time management secret used by Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve.

“He chopped up his hour into 15-minute increments,” says Cardone who is also a contributor to Entrepreneur.com. “I became fascinated with this theory and found that when you divide up an hour, you multiply the available time by four.”

Cardone says handling hours in smaller increments changes how you view the concept of time. He schedules his day in 15-minute increments, with no open space. For example, he schedules 15-minute meetings with his team.

“When you start a meeting and say you have 14 minutes 59 seconds, you tend to handle the things that are most important,” he says. “I honour time and truly believe time is money. People will agree with that, but very few people actually treat time like money.”

“You have to pay attention to time. It’s difficult to pay attention to an hour, but anyone can focus on 15 minutes and become more efficient,” he explains.

Angela Jia Kim: Create a Daily Action Plan

“My secret weapon is my Daily Action Plan,” says Angela Jia Kim, founder of Om Aroma & Co., an organic line of skin care products, and co-founder of Savor the Success, a women’s business networking group. “Without it I’m useless.”

With two thriving companies as well as a spa in New York’s West Village, Kim is in and out of meetings all day. “I have so much to do,” she says. “If I didn’t put it on paper and organise and prioritise, I’d feel like a piece of paper flying around in the wind. My Daily Action Plan staples my day together.”

Unable to find a system that could handle her needs, Kim designed her own, with sections that include ‘Brain Dump,’ a list of everything on her mind that day; ‘Three Frogs,’ her three most important tasks; and ‘Three Ships,’ tasks that have the potential to bring rewards, such as making a sales call or working on a proposal. It’s part of her Manifest Method, a workbook and daily planning system she hopes to publish later this year.

“I take five to ten minutes filling it out each day,” she says. “It puts me in CEO mindset. I literally spend 80 percent of my time in high-dividend long strategy planning instead of spending a day putting out fires.”

Stephanie Vozza is a freelance writer who has written about business, real estate and lifestyles for more than 20 years. A former small business owner, she recently discovered she's better at writing about them. She lives in the Detroit area with her husband, two sons and their crazy Jack Russell terriers.

Self Development

5 Inspiring Quotes From Madiba To Stir You Into Action On Mandela Day

In honour of Mandela Day, here are 5 of Nelson Mandela’s most inspiring quotes.

Casandra Visser

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Bouncing Back

nelson-mandela

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

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Self Development

25 Bad Words That Make Other People Feel Inferior

If the harshest thing you have to say about someone is partly true, say the other part.

John Rampton

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word-choice

Did you know that in every language, there are more negative words than positive ones? It seems we need lots of words to describe our negative feelings, but we’re content with a handful of positive ones.

For instance, researchers have found that most cultures have words for seven basic emotions: Joy, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, shame and guilt.

That’s one positive emotion, and six negative

It’s no wonder so many of us have a hard time keeping our negative comments in check. Over the past six months I’ve been working on the verbal language that I’ve been using that I don’t even realize hurts others and in some cases makes them feel inferior. I even noticed that I’ve used a couple on my personal and business website. This is a “no-no” that I needed to fix.

This post will list 25 negative words you should avoid…so that you stop hurting, belittling and intimidating those around you!

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Self Development

How To Control What You Can And Influence What You Can’t In Your Life

Every day you need to get up and face numerous challenges. Here’s how you can keep your head in the game — even when all you want to do is quit.

Erik Kruger

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resilience

On Monday you wake up ready to take on the world. You’re focused, determined and business is doing well. Tuesday feels like you’re invincible and things could not be going any better. Wednesday, your world collapses. You doubt your ability to deliver to your clients. You wonder whether you should still pursue the same business. You think that quitting at this stage is easier than dealing with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. And you are dramatically reminded that entrepreneurship is hard.

Mix in human nature and it becomes borderline insanity to try and build a business. And yet, the reward is worth it. I therefore want to share three strategies that might help you cope with this tough but deeply rewarding pursuit.

Influence and control

Most of the things in business and life are out of our control. You cannot control how other people react to your service or product. You cannot control how your employees will show up. You cannot control how the market will react and how that will affect your business.

Related: How You Can Do Big Things

This makes it very important to control what you can and then influence the rest to the best of your ability.

So, what can you control? You can control your actions, reactions and perceptions of the challenges you face. Meaning essentially, that you can control yourself and your efforts.

Do this with excellence and you will automatically influence the people around you and the situations you find yourself in.

Override your moods

If we only did the hard work when we felt like it, we would hardly get anything done. Our moods fluctuate like the tides of the ocean. Not because we are temperamental but because the external world has a profound impact on us.

When you wake up to news that the economy is in recession, it has the potential to plant seeds of doubt in your mind. When you receive an email from a disgruntled customer complaining about your service, it has the potential to ruin your day.

The fact is that you can receive a hundred testimonials singing your praise, but you will obsess and become despondent over that one negative comment.

This means that we have to move beyond our emotions. Sure, they are important in the decision-making process and for fostering meaningful relationships. But you cannot allow them to dictate when you will do work.

In other words, work hard, irrespective of your moods, especially on the days when you don’t feel like it.

Create a calibration practice

One of the best ways to deal with this rollercoaster effect is to create a daily calibration practice. I am a big fan of any action taken on a daily basis. Not only because of the accumulation effect that occurs over time, but also because it keeps you focused.

So, what does a daily calibration practice look like?

It differs for everyone. It could range from meditation to a vision board to journaling to listening to a specific playlist of songs. My suggestion is that you give journaling a go.

Because it’s sometimes difficult to start a new calibration practice, I have included my journaling template for you.

It’s called ‘J1G’ (pronounced as jig). I use Evernote or a notebook from HumanWrites for journaling purposes.

J: Journal

For the first few minutes, simply allow your hand to run across the paper. The idea is for you to dump as many of your thoughts onto the paper as possible.

Some questions you can answer in this section are:

  • What am I currently excited about?
  • What am I currently worried about?
  • Where am I currently winning?
  • What can I learn from what happened yesterday?

1: The one thing that you want to get done today

In this time, I usually have a look at my to-do list and decide which one action I want to get done today. Write it down and then expand on why it is the most important action. How will it move you or your business forward?

Related: Better Thinking For A Better World

G: Gratitude

In the last section, you simply write down three things that you are grateful for. Trust me, this is an important daily practice, but even more so on the days when you feel as if life is beating you down.

When you focus on the things that you are grateful for, you crowd out fear and shift your state of mind to a more positive and productive one.

The punch line

If you can stick to the three ideas I outlined above, I guarantee you will develop more resilience and perseverance. You are an entrepreneur because you chose to be one. Do not allow life to impose its will on you. I have no doubt that you will be better off because of all the challenges you face. Not in spite of them.

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