From time to time we all complain of not having enough hours in the day. At StartFast, founders are challenged to do more faster, while also adding in mentor and investor meetings. They’re all wishing there were more hours in the day. Here are five practical pro-tips for adding more hours to the day so you can get more done.
- Time Dilation
- Ready, Fire, Aim!
- Drop 25%
- Sleep Mo Betta
1. Time Dilation
Einstein theorized and others proved that time is relative. When you’re waiting in the dentist’s office, time passes ever so slowly. Top athletes (and accident victims!) report that in intense moments, time slows for them. Can we develop the mental discipline of a Novak Djokovic and slow down time so we can get more done each day? Yes. Researchers reporting in the journal Conscious Cognition cite the benefits of meditation in everyday life and performance – improved attention, working memory capacity, reading comprehension and time perception. Time slows for meditators versus control groups. By focusing attention on the present moment (and the task at hand), meditators get more done in an interval of time – say an hour – and experience the hour as longer than non-meditators. Meditation practice as little as 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening can initiate this effect. Long-term, the benefits accumulate.
2. Ready, Fire, Aim!
The StartFast methodology for building a business is quite empirical. We take every idea or opinion as a hypothesis, test it, and then use feedback data from the market to decide. Rather than deliberating over what to do and spending days, weeks or months planning, refining and deliberating. We run a series of quick, easy tests to give us data to drive correct decisions. Sometimes our hypotheses are confirmed and we can move forward confidently. Other times, the data shows us a non-intuitive outcome. We haven’t wasted time following an intuition that turns out to be wrong.
3. Drop 25%
Borrowing an idea on time management from Steve Covey (who purportedly borrowed it from President Eisenhower) can save you tons of time and free up hours in each day for meaningful progress. Make a list of everything you have to do, then assign each item to one of the quadrants below.
Notice that all the items in quadrant four (perhaps 25% of your to-do list), you can just drop, freeing up your schedule and reducing your anxiety.
Now look at quadrant 3. Perhaps another 25% of your to-do list, you can find someone else to do, or push back on the need for doing the task in the first place. Of course you have to have someone to delegate to! So it’s of vital importance to recruit, hire, partner and inspire others to work with you. That leaves quadrant 1 and 2 items for you to resolve. I recommend that you do quadrant 1 items immediately. Touch them once. Don’t put them on your calendar, just do them one at a time until that list is empty. Then you can focus on doing or scheduling the items in quadrant two.
5. Sleep Mo Betta
There is tremendous scientific evidence that getting sufficient sleep each night makes us more productive, happier and healthier. As it turns out, the typical “startup” diet and behavior is the exact opposite of what we should be doing to promote better sleep and thus more productivity during the day.
Counter-productive “startup” behaviors – Don’t:
- Drink Red Bull or other “energy drinks”
- Drink diet soda or caffeinated coffee
- Eat candy and other junk foods
- Drink alcohol
- Pull “all-nighters”
- Sleep with your smartphone or other device next to the bed
Productivity-enhancing behaviors – Do:
- Eat a healthy diet with lots of leafy greens.
- Drink lots of water – just water. Stop at least an hour before bed.
- Meditate in the evening before bed and in the morning upon awakening.
- Get some physical exercise every day (not right before bed).
- Keep your bedroom dark and leave your devices in another room.
If you apply these 5 pro-tips, you’ll find you’re getting a lot more done in less time, and you’ll have more hours in the day. I’ve been using these techniques myself for over 20 years and I keep getting more and more productive and happier each and every year. Enjoy!