11 Tips to Cut Through the Noise and Maximize Productivity

Question: When everything's a priority, how do you maximize your productivity and continue executing?

Question by: Ashley

Outsource, Outsource, Outsource!

"Everything may be a priority, but you are not equally brilliant at everything. Eliminate the unnecessary tasks and outsource your weaknesses so your time and focus is directed to where you'll make the biggest impact for the business."

- Kelly Azevedo | Systems Expert , She's Got Systems
Focus on One Thing at a Time

"It may seem like a no-brainer, but multitasking can actually cut back on your productivity. Instead of juggling multiple projects at once, schedule out blocks of time -- or even entire days -- during which you only focus on one task or one project."

- Steph Auteri | Career Coach, Writer, and Editor, Word Nerd Pro

Take On the Time-Sensitive

"Do time-sensitive tasks, then divide into projects. Look at all of your to-do's and first identify which ones are time-sensitive -- the ones that need to be done that day or that week. Do those tasks at the start of each day, then pick one big project per day to tackle once the time-sensitive items are taken care of."

- Stephanie Kaplan | Co-Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Her Campus Media

When's Your Prime Time?

"Identify when you are the most productive and focus on the tasks that are the highest priority to complete during that time. To do so, eliminate distractions -- such as calls and email -- and instead use the time you are at your mental best to accomplish your most important tasks."

- Doug Bend | Founder/Small Business & Startup Attorney, Bend Law Group, PC

Go Into Bunker Mode

"In the event that you find your plate filled with all high-priority tasks, you must remove all external distractions. This includes other people, emails, phone calls, and all social media sites. Now that it's just you and your work, focus all of your energy on one task at a time until it's complete, and then move on to the next one. Once all priorities are cleared, you may rejoin society!"


Get an Outside Perspective

"It's easy to get overwhelmed and too emotionally involved in everything that is happening to make clear decisions. Engage someone else -- such as a business partner, mentor, coach or friend -- to help ask you the right questions and sort out what's really most important now. An outside perspective can open you up to new possibilities."

- Elizabeth Saunders | Founder & CEO, Real Life E®

Don't Dwell!

"You’ll never get everything done, so don’t dwell on it. Split your time between what’s urgent and what’s important. If you handle all the things that pop up as soon as they come to you, you’ll never move forward as a business. Make an even split between handling urgent issues and working on long-term solutions. As you grow, you can hire people to handle more urgent matters."

Not Everything is a Priority

"It’s important to stay focused on what really matters. Spend some time on upfront planning to determine the most critical tasks that you need to take on. It’s usually much better to concentrate on one or two priorities and do them really well, instead of being spread so thin that you have mediocre output."

- Ben Rubenstein | Co-Founder & Vice President of Sales Operations, Yodle

Break Out the Rankings

"Written lists are still my best tool for productivity. When I feel like I have too much on my plate, I do a brain dump, then I give each item a numbered ranking based on priority. If I owe deliverables to others, I make sure to ask them when they need them by so that I can rank them appropriately."

- Allie Siarto | Co-Founder, Fare Oak
Define Roles and Divide Work

"Make sure everyone on the team has distinct roles defined, and divide work accordingly. Everyone on a proactive team will want to do everything, and clearly defined roles make it clear who should do what."

- David Gardner | Co-Founder & Partner, ColorJar
Close the Inbox Tab!

"One thing that slows me down is email, so I've made it a priority to cut down on email and focus on more important tasks. I recently launched BlissControl.com and NotificationControl.com to help solve the email issue myself!"


The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

About YEC

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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