Dominate Your To-Do List With Tips from Multitasking Masters
As an entrepreneur, your to-do list is always filled to bursting. There is always another task you could -- and need to be -- working on. So how do you manage to get everything done, all at the same time?
For many founders, the answer is multitasking. Because this process can be tricky, I polled 14 successful founders from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) about their best tools and strategies for mastering the art of multitasking.
1. iPhone with iCal
I rely on my phone so much. I put in every event, meeting and assignment that I have. This reminds me about everything I have going on in my life. It's free and something almost every person who is reading this article should have with them at all times. I also like to set reminders 30 minutes and 5 minutes before an event. This always keeps me on time and proactive. – John Rampton, Adogy
2. Google Apps
The one tool I couldn’t live without is my MacBook Pro with the Chrome browser and its collaborative cloud suite, Google Apps. I use Google Apps as the underlying productivity suite for all of my startups. – Lane Campbell, Syntress
3. Outsourcing and Delegating
Since I don't think multi-tasking is generally an ideal practice, the best way to mimic it is to outsource and/or delegate the pieces of what you do that aren't the highest priority. This way, it appears as though you're completing more than one task at a time because multiple things are being accomplished simultaneously. – Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40 / Finance Whiz Kids
In the past year, Trello has been the tool to help me change my life the most and get more done. I don't believe in hardcore multitasking, but Trello makes it easy to switch between projects quickly and effectively. Their system of using only boards, lists and cards is so simple, but invaluable as a tool. – Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers
5. Living a Balanced Life
As soon as I started exercising, eating better and generally making healthier choices, I became a multi-tasking machine. There is a lot to say about a good 30 minute workout to help you stay focused and engaged on the tasks at hand. You can have lists, calendar dates, etc. but you can also neglect those lists if your brain just isn't in the right place. A balanced life helps ensure that discipline works. – Jon Cline, Rokit SEO
6. Scheduling Your Life Along With Your Work
Reserve set times in your schedule for activities that allow you to recharge and that add value to your life, such as daily exercise, a weekly date or social night, time for family activities and vacation. You will not only have something to look forward to, but also extra motivation to manage your other time well so you do not have to cancel on others or yourself. – Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC
Any.do is probably the only tool that helps me stay organized and productive. It integrates with every device, browser and service I use daily, and includes simple "deadline" options. It makes multi-tasking seamless and simple. The Chrome extension and the pop-up notification at 8 a.m. that remind me to plan my day are also very nice features. – Wilson Owens, Royalty Exchange
Pocket has helped a lot. I love to read and subscribe to tons of e-newsletters, so I’ve developed the habit of quickly scanning all of my favorite outlets in the morning and adding anything interesting to Pocket. Then, over time, I read the saved content while I’m in a cab, waiting in a long line or reading before bed. You don’t even need an Internet connection to view your saved items. – Lindsey Pollak, Millennial Workplace Expert
10. Working in Multiple Rooms
One approach that helps me is to constantly switch my working environment. I will set up computers in different rooms, then I will switch often. I believe that your environment has a huge impact on your performance because your body adapts once you enter and start working in a room. When you switch, you replenish your energy and flush out the tediousness. – Kevin Xu, Mebo international
Kanban is like a supercharged to-do list. It helps keep me focused on my key daily and weekly tasks. With Kanban, I quickly hammer out smaller projects to allow for focus on my bigger goals. – Neil Thanedar, LabDoor
12. Not Multitasking
You aren't your most effective when you are trying to multitask, so get the most out of your time by focusing only on the single most important task for right now. Once that task is complete, move on to the next one. You'll be more productive, be more effective at each task and will avoid burnout from trying to do too many things all at once. – James Simpson, GoldFire Studios
13. Time Blocking
I set recurring times each week to knock out project work and personal stuff (like workouts, meetings, etc). I've found that when you block out sections on your calendar to "crank though," you're actually able to get more done and move the ball forward. Time blocking allows me to stay connected with my family while remaining highly productive. I get more done because I focus and knock it out instead of lettings tasks roll from week to week. – Brandon Dempsey, GoBRANDgo!
14. Automated Email Management
Email can be a serious productivity drag. One thing that's saved me a ton of time without much work is creating a custom Gmail filter to flag anything coming directly to me from my team and place it at the top of my inbox. It allows me to respond to internal emails quickly without getting weighed down with the rest of the clutter. – Jeff McGregor, Dash
Scott Gerber is also a serial entrepreneur, regular TV commentator and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job.