Staying productive can be challenging, especially with the wide range of possible distractions available to us today. With every useful tool that we utilize, it seems to be partnered with a way to draw our attention away from what we should be doing. For example, the internet. It’s filled with so much information and it’s vital to us today in order to do business, but you can access everything on it which leads to sites that may lead us away from our task at hand. Social Media and email are the same. Each notification is a trigger that stops our concentration.

What I have here for you are productivity habits that exemplary businessmen and businesswomen do to keep themselves in tip-top shape, mentally. You’ll find different kinds of options and mind you, not everything has to do with work entirely. In order to keep your brain productive and focused, you also need to know when to relax, when to sleep as well as do other activities outside of work.

Fred Bateman

Take Control
Fred Bateman, CEO and founder of Bateman Group

With how technology has improved over the years, it is now the foremost reason to distract you from productivity. Social Media, emails, streaming videos, all these are huge distractions whenever you have to sit down and work on your computer. With how easy they’re accessed, the temptation can be overwhelming and can overtake you and have you waste away precious time instead of getting things done.

Fred Bateman, CEO and founder of Bateman Group, makes sure that he turns everything off. His cellphone is set to vibrate or even silent and all notifications from social media and emails are turned off when he has to finish something important. Notifications are audio and visual distraction triggers that disrupt your concentration.

When it comes to working online or having to work on something online, he utilizes apps or browser extensions that help with keeping you focused. These apps are blacklist/block certain websites that distract you from the task at hand. Fred uses the app “StayFocused”. This app blocks all websites that he set as distractions, he can only open them when the app prompts him that it’s break time which is usually 10 minutes.

Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet

Time management and priorities are a big help when it comes to getting tasks done. Often times you find yourself with a mountain of work and it’s very easy to get lost in it all or if you’re the type that procrastinates at the last minute, then you’ll find yourself buried under everything that needs to be done.

Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Alphabet, believes in O.H.I.O., which means, Only Hold It Once. What he does is he immediately responds to emails with small and easy to do tasks or tasks that can be done or be dealt with right away and sets aside emails with large tasks to do for later. Doing this, he finishes what can be done right away, and he doesn’t have to go back over and over to the same email.

Prioritize your tasks by what’s urgent or with what you can finish the quickest. It’s a great way to manage your time and finish your work load at a more efficient pace.

Jack Dorsey

Themes for Each Day
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter

If you’re handling majority of the workload or you have multiple tasks at hand, you can find yourself jumping from one thing to the next in a day and often times, you end up with either having half baked outputs or half made ones. This means, you didn’t do anything or you didn’t finish a single thing for day and everything will keep piling up or you’ll never reach your desired deadline.

Why not take the advice of Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter. In order to create product week and a productive and organized workflow, Jack sets a theme for each day, every week. For example:

  • Monday - Management
  • Tuesday - Product
  • Wednesday - Marketing, Communications and Growth
  • Thursday - Developers and Partnerships
  • Friday - Company, Culture and Recruiting
  • Saturday - Relaxation
  • Sunday - Reflection, Strategy and Prepping for the week ahead

With this kind of schedule, he not only allows himself to focus on one thing at a time and finish what he needs to for that certain department, but it creates a great sense of order for his entire team. Everyone is able to work at a certain pace, knowing which day of the week they can work with their boss and this gets everything done.

Katia Beauchamp

Deadlines in Emails
Katia Beauchamp, Co-Founder of Birchbox

Often times, if you’re leading a team, your email ends up flooded with reports, escalations, client requests and the like and sometimes the most important ones get buried under new ones, especially when you’re extremely busy with other tasks.

Katia Beauchamp of Birchbox decided to fix this and began to require all her employees to add a deadline for response in every email that is sent to her. This way she’s able to prioritize everything and manage her time more efficiently.

Chad Dickerson

Take Notes
Chad Dickerson, Former CEO of Etsy

You meet tons of clients everyday if you’re running your own business and there’s often way too many that you can lose track of them or what you’ve last spoke about. It’s always a good idea to make sure that you keep track of details of your clients and what you last spoke off.

The former CEO of Etsy (you can find his own blog here), Chad Dickerson, makes sure to jot down notes about a person who gets added to his network. He takes note of how they met and what they talked about. It makes processing businesses or pitching business deals easier. You don’t forget anything about that person and you’re able to easily strategize on how to make your pitch successful.

Gina Trapani

Three-Folder Email
Gina Trapani, Founder of Lifehackers

An unorganized email can lead to a lot of issues. You can miss out on important announcements or even important scheduled meetings or business calls. Organizing your email is a good start with how you can efficiently work and be productive.

What Gina Trapani, founder of Lifehacker, does is she sorts her emails into three folders. “Follow Up” are for emails that require a response and are active, “Hold” are emails that are either in progress or are to be handled in the future and “Archive” which are for emails that no longer merit a response or it’s already finished. With this segregation, it’s easy to find what you need and what you should be looking into.

This is a great system to keep everything organized, another suggestion would be to properly label your emails, especially if you’re working with Gmail. Color coded labels for each department or for each important person allows great visibility when you first open your email.

Mark Zuckerberg

Annual Goals
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder of Facebook

Personal growth and career growth work hand in hand. In order to attain career growth you have to also have personal growth. Neither one happens without the other.

Setting annual goals, whether it be personal goals or business goals is a great way to remain productive and motivated. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder of Facebook, gives himself a set of personal goals that contributes to his personal growth. In 2010, his goal was to learn Chinese and in 2015 he set his mind to reading a book every two weeks.

These may seem small but if it keeps you motivated and inspired, it’ll easy translate into your work and provide you with a certain drive to keep getting better and feeling good about yourself should you achieve the said goals at the end of the year.

Arianna Huffington

Take a Break and Sleep!
Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post

Overworking yourself or working too hard doesn’t exactly translate into productivity and getting things done. The lack of sufficient rest or relaxation is more detrimental to your productivity and negatively impacts cognitive performance, starting from memory to attention span.

Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post strongly believes in taking breaks and sleeping in order to make yourself more productive. She even wrote a book about it, entitled, “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.” In her book she tackles about the cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted and how it compromises our lives and decision-making skills. She states in her book, “My single most effective trick for getting things done is to stop doing what I’m doing and get some sleep.”

Keith Rabois

One Focus
Keith Rabois, Managing Director of Khosla Ventures

You probably see this mentioned a lot nowadays, how people multitask and do multiple things at a time. It’s not a foreign concept now and with how there’s so much to do, yet so little time, or well, that’s how it feels, sometimes it can’t be helped.

Managing Director of Khosla Ventures and former Paypal Executive, Keith Rabois, however says otherwise. It’s always better to focus on one thing at a time. Doing multiple things at the same time can lead to things done decently well, as opposed to focusing on one task and doing it really well. He explained that whenever multiple things are given to his employees they often go for the easiest task or those that they have a clearer understanding and solution to.

Jamie Wong

Create, Love, and Grow
Jamie Wong, CEO of Vayable

In order to keep yourself driven and productive at work, it’s always best that know how to balance both work and your personal life. An unbalanced lifestyle will only burn you out easily and quickly. Putting in 60 hours of work a week doesn’t really make your the best at your job and research already proved that happier people perform better at work.

Jamie Wong, CEO of Vayable, sets three activities a week that are not related to work, one for Create, one for Love and one for Grow. She goes boxing every week, which is classified under the Grow category. According to Jamie, boxing is a discipline both for the body and the mind and is great exercise. She draws on it power throughout the week.

My takeaway from this is that you need to keep a healthy mind and body in order to keep being productive and these habits that these successful people do helps in keeping them in shape. What about you? What kind of habits do you have that keeps you productive during the day? Do you need a sort of app that helps you control yourself? Do you organize or create a process that keeps things organized and sets your priorities? How do you handle yourself and keep yourself in control? Share them! It could help a whole lot of people.