September 18, 2018

7 Ways to Be More Productive at a Startup

Working for a startup is not for everyone.

In a fast paced environment, only results matter. That's why you need to make the most out of your time.

Here are 7 ways to be more productive at a startup.

Pick your own hours

Unlike corporate jobs, working for a startup means flexible hours.

The 9 to 5 model is in fact outdated.

As Kate Bratskeir, Food and Health Editor at The Huffington Post put it :

“Your productivity can’t be measured by a clock.“

We all hit our productivity peaks at different times during the day. Some prefer working early in the morning. Others are night owls.

But that doesn't mean you should always do that. Indeed Benjamin P Hardy, the #1 writer on and author of "Will power doesn’t work" published a viral morning productivity checklist.

“If you don’t purposefully carve time out every day to progress and improve?—?without question, your time will get lost in the vacuum of our increasingly crowded lives. “ He said.At Veamly, we make sure our team starts the morning together for maximum productivity.

Know how to relax

Picking your own hours indeed is a double edged sword.

If you have no boundaries, you will burnout pretty soon. Working for a startup is a marathon not a sprint. You need to make sure you rest well to keep your balance.

Sure, you can come up with all the excuses: “I have a lot in my plate“ or “I love my work“ and the list goes on.Ben shippers, Techcrunch contributor put things into perspective: “Something rarely discussed in our startup community is monotony. Monotony is troubling, and can play a huge role in burnout. Too much of anything isn’t good. Because of the natural ebbs and flows of startups, monotony easily creeps in.

“You have to learn how to relax on a regular basis.That means staying away from any electronic devices, shutting down slack and ignoring emails. Sure it will hurt at first but remember you can't help your teammates if you are not at your absolute best.

Listen to music

You listen to music on several occasions. On your way to work, at a party, or just to relax. The possibilities are endless. But when it comes to work, it’s a personal preference.Some people find listening to music a bit distracting. That’s totally understandable. However, a research by Dr. Lesiuk' proves that listening to music increases productivity. Of course not all kinds of music are super effective.According to Dr Haake who does research around listening to music at work, there are five patterns to identify if music is effective or not:

  1. Musical structure. Songs with a more complex musical structure, such as Frank Zappa's "Muffin Man" can be more distracting to listeners when compared to songs with a simple three-chord structure, such as John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane".
  2. Lyrics. Lyrics can distract, as they cause you to focus on the message of the song and interrupt your train of thought.
  3. Listening habits. If someone is used to listening to music while working, it's often more beneficial than distracting. The reverse is true as well.
  4. Difficulty of tasks. If a task requires more thought and focus, music can make it more difficult to work efficiently.
  5. Control. When music is imposed upon someone, it's usually more distracting than if the person has a choice in the matter.

Start with small tasks

When you have a lot on your plate, it's easy to get discouraged.A lot of people don’t enter their productivity zone early in the day. Starting with small tasks will give you that moral boost to carry on with the rest of your to do list items.

For instance, I start by checking my emails or any updates across our collaboration tools.

The topic is a bit controversial.Brian Tracy, Author of Eat that frog recommends starting with the most difficult task first because that will make anything you tackle later during the day easy.

In summary, it depends on the person’s productivity clock. Still, at a startup small wins will always keep the team motivated and ready to push further.

Put yourself in the right mindset & the right environment

One of the best things I like about Veamly is embracing remote work. But remote work is not everyone’s favorite.In his blog, Doist founder Amir Salihefendic talked about the shortcomings of remote work.One of the reasons why we also have an office for people who prefer structure and more human connections. The challenge is when you are working remotely you need more than just self discipline and accountability.

Jason fried co-author of bestseller “remote: office not required“ insists on picking a dress code and preparing a workstation before hand. It’s unbelievable how a comfortable chair and a good table can help.

Also, stay away from social media and put your phone away. By eliminating distractions, you make sure that you will only be focused on your tasks alone.

Ask for help if blocked

One of the pillars for a startup to succeed is teamwork.While being a self starter is mandatory, sometimes you find yourself blocked one way or another. The reasons may vary but the output is the same.It’s ok if you don't know but it's not ok to pretend to know. Silence your ego and ask for help.Asking for help doesn’t show weakness.

If you don't, you will end up hurting not only yourself in term of performance but also the team.

Be proactive

Now sometimes even asking for help won't necessarily solve the problem.

You need to act on your own. You have to choose the best course of action and execute. Yes you will probably make mistakes and that’s fine.

With good communication and the right attitude, you can tackle any problem at hand.Proactiveness is the fuel of every startup.

Don’t expect the business to grow fast if everyone is waiting for the green light around the corner.

Proactive employees are not afraid to launch an initiative or take actions as long as that will get the job done. Some people may be more proactive than others. It’s totally understandable if you feel scared because the responsibility is huge.Welcome to the real world. This is what it means to work for a startup.

It's not enough

I hate to break it to you but this is not enough. Even if you are still do the hacks above you will still run into productivity standpoints. Because at some point you will struggle when it comes to prioritizing your own tasks.

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