The day has only 24 hours and we need to sleep too. As a startup entrepreneur, you’re probably maxed out. While you won’t get more hours a day, you can always get more out of the limited time you have. Here are 3 ways to do it.

1. Implement Pareto Rule to Get Things Done

Pareto was an Italian economist who made several observances. For example, that 80% of the land in Italy is owned by 20% of all landowners in the country, 80% of the fruit is yielded by 20% of his trees, etc. This became known as Pareto rule once adopted by management thinkers who similarly observed that 20% of salespeople generate 80% of sales, 20% of customers bring 80% of revenue, etc.

pareto-principle

While the ratio can be anywhere between 90%-70% vs. 10% – 30%, the morale of the story is that few actions generate the majority of results. A good way to start is to make your analysis, identify what are your key 20% of most efficient actions, double down on it and cut off or outsource or delegate the rest (like students would with Assignment Help, for example).

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Another good way to implement this is to write a ‘’to-do list’’ for every day.  Grade each task on the scale of 1-10 based on what you get out of it, and focus on the top 2-3 tasks based on priority. Of course, some stuff needs to be done (or maybe not?) but if you focus on the big picture consistently over the long term, you will get results that are better and bigger.

2. Design Your Day According to Your Biorhythm

Our biorhythms are driven by two different biological clocks: circadian biorhythm and ultradian rhythms. Circadian rhythm is our 24-hour biological clock. Ultradian rhythms are shorter 90 – 120-minute cycles that repeat throughout the day.

ultradian-rhythm

Circadian rhythms determine which part of the day we are most stimulated. In general, people are divided into ‘early birds’ and ‘night owls’. Early birds are the kind of people who are most energized in the morning. They have no problem to wake up early and deliver their 100% right away. Some famous examples were Napoleon, Hemingway or Edison.

Night owls on another hand are most energized in the evenings. While most people fall somewhere in between these two categories, it’s very important to learn which category you fall into. A study from 2013 shows that a big part of the world’s population who are night owls showed reduced integrity of white matter in several areas of the brain as a result of waking up for 9-5 jobs. Likewise, you boost your daily efficiency if you get it right.

[pullquote]A study from 2013 shows that a big part of the world’s population who are night owls showed reduced integrity of white matter in several areas of the brain as a result of waking up for 9-5 jobs.[/pullquote]

Our day is driven by recurring ultradian rhythms – 90-120-minute cycles. Like circadian rhythm, each ultradian rhythm starts with heightened energy levels followed by a period of fatigue when your body requests a rest.

What you can do to take advantage of this knowledge is to track your biorhythms and design your day accordingly. The most simple way is to take a spreadsheet and grade your mood, energy and focus levels on a scale of one to three, every hour for a week.

JR-Productivity-Spreadsheet

A great example is this experiment by founder of Asana, Justin Rosenstein. After tracking his performance for several weeks, he identified what he calls his “Superman Time.” During this period, he’s 100% focused on work, schedules no meetings and avoids all distractions.

JR-Productivity-Graph

3. Design Your Environment for Top Performance

According to B.J. Fogg change of context, is one of the three things that can lead to long-term change in behavior (other two are an epiphany and ‘tiny habits’). Psychologists use a term “social engineering” which can be defined as altering your environment to maximize behavior change in the desired direction. ( e.g., one of the reasons why we wear seatbelts is because our cars make annoying noises if we don’t. )

According to Thomas Plante, a professor of Psychology with 30 years of psychotherapeutic experience, social engineering works much better than trying to get people to alter their behavior based on impulse control and willpower alone significantly.

self-control

The idea behind this is that the big part of our behavior, such as laziness or procrastination is habitual and usually triggered by specific conditions. Likewise, resisting distractions takes a lot of willpower which can be used efficiently.

Reminders, web blockers, an involvement of other people and change in environment are all efficient methods to engineering your day for top performance. For example, keeping your inbox at 0, clearing up your desk, using headphones and temporarily blocking distracting sites as well as ads. All of these improvements can save a lot of your brain’s processing power and provide you with more focus to work on your top tasks.

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