It’s one of the most common questions asked when you run across a wildly successful person who seems to effortlessly juggle the ten thousand balls they have in the air at any one moment: How do you get it all done?
That’s exactly what we set out to learn this year by talking to hundreds of entrepreneurs to learn their secrets; the results were as diverse as the companies and founders themselves. Pick and choose some of these techniques to streamline your work life and accomplish more in the coming year:
Learn the many, many, many things to say “no” to at work: Kristin Muhlner, CEO of NewBrand Analytics, has mastered the art of saying no, resolutely refusing to become overextended in all corners of her life. “Quite candidly, I’m really ruthless in terms of doing only those things which are absolutely essential. I’m saying no to a lot, both in work and life. Learn her technique for prioritizing, and declining opportunities with grace.
Stop making resolutions: They almost never work. Instead, says Spencer Greenberg, founder of Clearer Thinking, an organization that creates free tools to help people make better decisions, train yourself to always be on the lookout for ways to make your life better, then act on that instinct. “Optimize Everything” is his motto–learn how to emulate it here.
Use an easy marketing trick to reinforce habits: Creating visual, environmental cues for changes you want to make is an effective hack for remembering our goals, and each small step that needs to be taken along the way. Learn how to try it.
Become a morning person: It’s no secret that getting up earlier helps you get a jump on your day–and your competition, and your colleagues. But how do you make yourself do it if it doesn’t come naturally? We explore what it takes to become a morning person.
Get your to-do list to zero: There’s a two-step process for slaying your to-do list; you’ll never have to look at all those lines of undone work, ever again.
Push past motivational pauses: Seth Godin calls it “The Dip”—that slump that we all hit when things get hard, which is (sometimes) before the place where things get great. This is how you prevent yourself from throwing in the towel.
Try a one-week work sprint: Take a page from Zappos, which uses intense work sprints to launch big projects fast.
Get rid of email: It can be done, and we found a company that did it.