Keeping an online calendar is a key productivity hack, but it’s hardly the only one. On their way to the top, the biggest names in business learned a lot of ways to work smarter.
From top executives to celebrity entertainers, business moguls have discovered a lot of tricks you can benefit from. Why learn them the hard way?
Use Your Calendar Like Business Moguls Do
If you want to be more productive, let the stars of the business world light the way. Here are six tips they use:
1. Cut Communication Chains
One of the hottest entrepreneurs in business today is Elon Musk. Musk’s busy schedule includes managing two large-scale companies and raising a family — a load he’s been able to juggle for years now.
While his time management skills leave you in awe, he has another productivity hack that helps his main company, Tesla, run smoothly. In a letter to his employees, he encourages bypassing the chain of command for communication.
Time is lost when a message is sent from an employee to a supervisor, to a manager, to a VP, and back down. Problems can be identified and solved more quickly through direct and open communication.
With an online calendar, you can use scheduling links to let anyone put a call on your calendar. This helps enable direct communication by opening up your time to anyone who requests it, regardless of their position in the hierarchy of the company.
2. Refine Your To-Do Lists
Brian Chesky, the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, is a productivity pro. Chesky is a big fan of to-do lists, but he approaches them differently than you’re probably used to.
When you’re creating a checklist for the day, you probably think about individual tasks. Instead, Chesky writes down his priorities, then figures out how he can group them together. By arranging and combining his task list, he can narrow it down to a few jobs that can cover several smaller tasks.
Many online calendars have a Notes section in which you can create to-do lists and organize them to your specifications. Use this feature to streamline our personal workflow and make your days more efficient.
3. Do Less Over Email
Reading and responding to emails can take hours each day. Before you know it, your entire morning could be gone before you’ve gotten anything substantial done. This is a struggle all business executives face, including LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.
Weiner’s solution? Send fewer emails. The fewer he sent, the fewer he received. Only sending emails when necessary freed up not just his inbox, but also his schedule.
Pop culture sensation Kim Kardashian West echoes this with her policy of clearing her email and SMS inboxes every night, leaving them completely empty for the next day.
Schedule a time in your online calendar, whether it be each night or each week, to get to inbox zero. Then, do your best to keep it that way by sending out email messages only when you can’t communicate something more effectively through another channel.
4. Get Up Early
You’re not going to like it, but many of the world’s most successful people are up at the crack of dawn. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is up at 4:30 a.m. every morning, and he’s not the only one. Take a look at the leaders of your favorite brands, and most of them wake up early for a full day of productivity.
Use your online calendar to determine when you need to wake up in order to accommodate your morning routine. Find a sweet spot that lets you squeeze everything in while still getting enough sleep.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to get up at 4:30 a.m. or 5:30 a.m. every morning to be successful or even an entrepreneur. I get up at 7 a.m. and do just great. Figure out your body’s best rhythm.
5. Train Your Body and Your Mind
The biggest names in business are known for their intelligence and innovation. What you might not realize is that regular exercise is also part of their formula for success. Staying active keeps the brain sharp and the body healthy.
One of many examples comes from Mark Cuban. Cuban is a regular judge on the hit show “Shark Tank” and the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. He puts his money where his mouth is by getting at least an hour of cardio every day.
Online calendars are perfect tools for organizing and executing your workout plans. They can help you make time for exercise when you otherwise couldn’t get yourself to do it.
6. Learn The Art of Time-Blocking
Time-blocking is the act of separating and designating your time to complete certain tasks. For example, you can choose to block out one hour for making sales calls. You start as soon as the block begins, and end when time is up.
Time-blocking is a strategy employed by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com. By carving out specific time slots for specific tasks, Hsieh makes sure he’s giving ample time to each of his priorities. Elon Musk is another example: The Tesla executive breaking down his daily schedule to five-minute increments to make sure everything gets done.
Time-blocking is easy with an online calendar. Creating events for the tasks you hope to accomplish lets you visualize your day, increasing your efficiency.
If you want to be successful in business, who better to learn from than leaders like Elon Musk and Tony Hsieh? Follow their advice, and lean on your online calendar to put it into practice.