When someone asks me what I do at WeTravel, I often respond “Everything that no-one else is doing”. Being a startup CEO sounds glamorous, and it definitely can be. You drive product and business strategy, establish strategic partnerships, have the occasional public speaking gig, and you run the fundraising (ok, the last part is not exactly glamorous).
But in an early-stage company, the CEO also spends a lot of time on a thousand tiny mundane tasks, from submitting invoices to the accountant, dealing with legal necessities all the way down to handling the boring HR formalities. There are so many “urgent” tasks that distraction easily becomes a CEO’s biggest challenge.
Here are 4 practical things to improve your focus and productivity:
- Install a Facebook newsfeed blocker & Put away your phone
I’ve installed a Facebook newsfeed blocker, deleted the Facebook app and put my phone out of reach when I’m at work. It has easily given me an hour a day of my life back. LinkedIn newsfeed blocker is next, but I haven’t quite made that jump yet.
- Turn off email while executing a task
According to a UC Irvine study, it takes 23 minutes to get back to a task once distracted. So when I block off periods of time for specific tasks, I make sure to turn off any email, slack, IM or other notifications that could interrupt the workflow. Checking your emails 2-3 times a day is completely sufficient.
Urgent often gets mistaken for important. Every VC-funded company is constantly running against the clock, but taking regular time-outs just to think where your company stands is crucial. Do it at least weekly. Especially as the CEO, you are the one that has to take the birds-eye view and see the bigger picture. No one else will do that for you.
- Get the blood flowing
Long working hours are a given and with the huge task list at hand, you forget that your body is not made to sit or stand 12 hours a day behind a screen. Drink enough and make sure you move from time to time. It’s a common, yet slightly odd sight in @WeTravel’s office to have employees do random push-up sessions. Does it look weird? Yes, but it does get you mentally back on track.
What do you do to keep your focus?