By Michael Solomon, 10x Management Co-Founder
I’ve co-founded four companies, all of which are still operating, and three by the time I was 30. Part of the secret to being so productive is taking the time to learn how to be more productive. Invest your time and energy in learning productivity hacks. It’s the best investment because you do it once and then have the benefit of the knowledge indefinitely. Hack everything that is repetitive in your life. Here’s a list of 10 of the best apps and hacks to help make you more productive (the other 10 will come in a blog post next week!):
If you don’t have an assistant or a staff, perhaps you could afford a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants (VAs) work remotely and rent their time for usually much, much lower rates than you would pay onsite for the same service. VAs also charge by the hour or day so you can utilize their services as much or as little as you want. The decision is a fairly simple one: If I pay someone five dollars an hour to save me roughly an hour’s worth of time, can I use that hour to make more than the five dollars I’m paying them? Or can I use that time to do something that I value more than five dollars?
Be it Siri on my phone, using the built-in voice typing in google docs, or Email Dictation for Gmail (built by 10xer Greg Sadetsky), most of us talk faster than we type. Dictation is a great tool that can save you tons of time.
Get Work Done On The Go
Because of dictation, I can respond to complicated emails and even compose blog posts while walking, commuting, waiting, etc. Take advantage of all that dead time which would otherwise be unproductive. If you do this successfully, you will certainly want to counterbalance it with meditation, which I talk about more below.
Get In the Cloud
What computer I work on doesn’t matter at all. All I have to do is login to my Google account and everything is exactly where I left it, regardless of what machine I’m on, or where I am in the world. If you take my favorite machine and break it into bits, I will login to a new one and have exactly what I had before. This means you’re never sacrificing your comfort or productivity because you don’t have something on your local machine. Obviously, this does not work as well for those of you in media where you’re dealing with huge files. The other benefit of this for me is I can buy a $150 chromebook and be just as productive as I am on a $1200 MacBook Pro.
Google Drive and Google Docs
Along the same lines, never worry about which version or which machine you’re working on again. Everyone can contribute simultaneously. You can see all changes that were made and by whom. You can suggest, edit or comment. Perfect for collaborating. Make the effort to learn how to use them. I am not an expert at the competing products (from Microsoft, Dropbox and others) but I imagine they offer similar benefits. The difference is that they might not be free and almost everyone has a Google account which means easy access for all.
Use Waze or Google Maps to avoid traffic EVEN when you know where you are going and how to get there
Both Waze and Google Maps offer unique features to help you conquer the commute. Spend less time in traffic and more time doing things that are important to you, like hobbies, working, spending time with your family or further optimizing yourself:-).
It takes about three seconds to unsubscribe from most emails and about one second to delete one of those emails every time it comes. It feels like you’ll never finish this job because you won’t, but keep doing it anyway. It pays off in small ways and bigger overtime.
There are lots of ways to do this, but doing it is important. Just like your body and mind need sleep and food, you also need to give your mind/brain a chance to rejuvenate. It is proven to make you a better and faster decision maker. It seems counterintuitive to “waste” 20-40 minutes of your day sitting and doing nothing, but science tells us it is worth it.
The other version of rejuvenating your body is this little-known (and little-practiced) thing called exercise. I am not bringing this up because it’s good for your health (which of course it is), but rather because those who regularly exercise have more energy and more focus thus making them more productive..
Easily finding apps on your phone and/or using the search function are key. I know some people that color-coordinate the apps on their phones, which is a great way to organize apps if you’re a visual learner. Some people organize their apps alphabetically, and others organize them by frequency of use. Personally, I use folders and never allow there to be more than two screens. However you organize your apps, ensure it makes sense for you. And if you chose not to organize them and have pages and pages of apps, always use the search function. It will save you a lot of time (and frustration)!
If you like this article, you might enjoy reading Why Getting A Head Start On Automation Is Necessary