We asked women leaders how they get things done. From pen-to-paper lists to music and a slew of apps, here are their responses.
- Visualize your success.
“As a business owner and mother of 2 young boys, I need to be extremely organized and focused. Every morning I spend 5 minutes or so visualizing what is that I am going to accomplish that day or week and see it playing out in my head. By doing this each project or initiative becomes more tangible in a sense. I become much more efficient when I’ve already seen the “movie” in action.
Another tool is my white board which I review and update constantly. With so many balls in the air, it helps to see everything written down, and coupled with the visualization, I become very clear as to how to execute. Visualization is incredibly helpful to me as it keeps me on target and oftentimes helps me come up with ideas I hadn’t thought of if I hadn’t freed my mind up to expand and be creative.”
Caryn Antonini, Founder and CEO
- Delegation, delegation, delegation.
“Delegation, delegation, delegation. Many of us get into executive roles due to the willingness to take on large tasks and execute them efficiently and effectively. However, to be successful at senior levels, it becomes vital to pass key tasks to reliable employees. This allows you to get more done, to think about the big picture, and to better progress your department and company as a whole.”
Chelsea Mueller, CMO
- Trello, block out time in your calendar (and avoid Slack!)
“I use Trello to organize my ideas. We all have a ton of ideas throughout the day, but we get so busy with the task at hand that we file the idea away in our brain to address later. And then later never happens. I have my Trello board open and I post ideas there as they come up and revisit them each Friday.
Also: I’m in a lot of meetings, so I put two hour blocks on my calendar (I call those blocks ‘protected environments’) and try not to take meetings on Friday unless necessary. Uninterrupted time to think and get work done is critical to productivity.
Lastly, I’ll make a comment on a productivity killer: Slack. I am part of far too many channels and it’s impossible to keep up with real-time group IM all day in multiple channels. Maybe I haven’t figured out the secret, but so far – this doesn’t help me.
Founder, reTHINKit PR
- Block the temptation of the Web
“My secret to productivity is an app called Freedom. You can block out certain websites and social media for a certain number of hours. As a Millennial entrepreneur, I tend to check social media compulsively. It’s really helped prevent those constant distractions throughout the day. I find working in a co-working space also helps boost my productivity more than working at the home office. Being around other hard-working entrepreneurs inspires you to work harder. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say coffee helped!”
Nicole Martins Ferreira, Co-founder
- Listen to your body.
The way I get things done is I listen to my body. I have always had an erratic sleep schedule, so sometimes I have high energy late at night and low energy during the day. I let myself be this way, because to force it is unproductive. I do a lot of my work in the wee hours of the morning, but I think sending emails at 3 AM makes you look like a lunatic. I use Boomerang for Gmail to schedule messages to go out during business hours. This way, clients respond even if I’m sneaking in a nap.
Kim Kohatsu, Founder and Chief Creative Officer
- Train your brain.
“Listen to Brain.fm – music that taps into alpha waves that encourage productivity and focus. It’s so crazy but it really helps me focus. Best used with noise-canceling headphones, even if you’re the only one in the room.
Use https://heyfocus.com. Block every notification that interrupts you and shut down tempting and distracting websites and apps for a certain time period, an entire day, or on a regular schedule of your choice.”
Work smarter, not longer. I know that my most productive hours of the day are first thing in the morning, and late at night. I can’t hyper focus at 2pm and expect to get much done, it just doesn’t work for me. Instead, 2pm is when I work out, run errands, and generally use my time more wisely. I know that when 10pm rolls around, I’ll be able to crank out work 3x faster than I would during the early afternoon.”
Sandra Rand, VP Marketing
- Prioritize every day.
“The first thing I do every morning is I’ll pick the one or two highest priority items on my list and block out time to accomplish those tasks; this ensures that I set aside time for the most important things that need to get done. This system has worked really well for me because even if I get distracted or pulled away from my work for much of the day, the highest priority items will always get accomplished, and I always end up having a productive day.”
Suzanne Hayen, Founder and CEO
- Never work in your pajamas – and treat yourself.
“As an entrepreneur, this is a major rule. On the days that I work from home, I have to be dressed and ready to work for the day. It is a mental weapon of sorts. Otherwise I don’t feel committed to focusing on my to-do list.
And, if I’ve had a long week and worked hard I will reward myself on a Friday morning by taking an extra 30 minutes in the morning to read, play music, make a big breakfast, sleep, whatever I choose. After I’ve treated myself then I start working. It’s a small refresher and well worth it to me, even it is extends my workday. When I reward myself it boosts my mood.
Sarah Elder, Co-Founder
- Do a brain dump.
“I wake up bright and early every morning and before I leave the bed, I create a ‘Brain Dump’ on a notepad that I keep on my night stand. I start writing down anything that comes to mind that may need to be addressed that day or week. This allows me to add/ adjust my calendar if necessary and get my bearings on the day to come.
I then always have some morning “me time” which consists of either a quick workout at the gym, morning coffee and breakfast while checking social media, or spending some time with my dog. This allows me to center myself before diving into work.
Ella Ozery, Founder and CEO
- Google calendar
“I use Google Calendar every single day, as my personal assistant and life organizer. I like knowing what I have going on every day of the week, preferably weeks ahead of time. I even create events for myself for tasks that I need to get done, blocked for the time that I should be doing them. This helps me stay on track and get a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, and allows me to look forward to the days ahead (as both necessary and fun activities are on the same calendar).”
Leeyen Rogers, VP of Marketing