Hack your productivity as a startup founder

February 12, 2024


Has it ever happened to you that you want to accomplish many things in your business but never happen to find the time to do them? Learn 6 tricks to hack your productivity as a startup founder.

Has it ever happened to you that you want to accomplish many things in your business but never happen to find the time to do them?

Or that you think there are too many tasks on your Notion or Trello and you don't even know where to start?

Procrastination is eating away your time... or something like that.

The reality is that building a business takes a lot of courage, planning, and a spark of productivity. You might find yourself working several hours on the same idea and not finding any progress at all.

In this article, we'll give you 6 tips so that you can hack your productivity, make progress and finally mark some tasks out of your list.

6 tips to hack your productivity as a startup founder:

1. Break down your tasks. Set daily and weekly goals

2. Finish the hard work first

3. Time block activities

4. Learn to say no

5. Give yourself time to rest if needed

6. Develop a growth mindset

6 tips to hack your productivity as a startup founder

1. Break down your tasks. Set daily and weekly goals

Often as founders, we find ourselves wanting to achieve more than we can. Instead of having big (almost impossible) goals, split your tasks so that every week and day, you can contribute to that bigger business objective.

In Pygma, we work with Notion in a structure way to establish our goals and weekly/daily tasks. Working on your startup is like running a marathon. Each team has a weekly sprint where we share the goals for the week and review progress. The bigger goals are set to be achieved within a certain time and a board with tasks assigned on weekly sprints.

What's important is that you're realistic with your own time and make sure you don't become your own bottleneck. Learn how to delegate to others repetitive tasks that are taking too much of your time.

Avoid multitasking too much. It's better to work slowly but make progress than not track what you work on and whether you're making some progress.

Panda Planner, Notion and Trello are amazing ways for you to set up some daily, weekly and monthly activities.

2. Finish the hard work first

In the morning, we have higher willpower, and we find ourselves rested after the night. You could use this energy to start with the hardest tasks first and then complete the easier tasks as they come.

Some people find it hard to work in the morning. Don't worry if you're one of those; work on your own time instead of doing things in a time that doesn't work for you.

In Pygma, we use a prioritization matrix that helps us define what tasks to work on first. This will help you figure out what to prioritize first, regardless of whether you work alone or on a team. This prioritization matrix will help you determine a clear hierarchy of what to do first to focus on big gains and quick wins that will generate more impact for your business.

In this example below, you have the importance (how urgent or not it is) and the effort (is it difficult or easy to do).

Prioritization Matrix

How the prioritiztion matrix works:

1) Make a list of all the tasks you have to do; you could do it daily or weekly, or both.

2) What are the most important tasks from the list? Divide the list into two categories; urgent and non-urgent.

Think about dependencies between the tasks as well. Do you need to finish your website first before you start promoting it? This will help you define the impact of each task, regardless of how big or small it is.

3) Next step is to define what will take more effort to do compare with the impact that will generate.

Do you need to first test your messaging before changing/improving your website visuals? Then start by doing so if that requires low effort compared with the work you'll have to do afterward.

This simple yet effective prioritization matrix could help you get things done and do the right things first before moving on to some smaller activities.

If you're also working for a company and only working on your startup in your free time, then don't be so hard on yourself. Having the daily tasks defined will help you achieve something every day instead of worrying too much about doing many things simultaneously.

3. Time block activities

When getting started, we all make the mistake that we want everything to be perfect. Truth is that there's no such thing as 'perfect' when starting and building your business.

So instead of taking too much time on shipping activities, try to time-box each task so you're able to finish in a reasonable time and then find some possible customers who can help you validate your ideas.

Indie hackers is a nice community for founders and entrepreneurs where you ask for feedback when need and get support (we love Indie Hackers).

It's easier to work on each task if you know how much you'll be spending on average.

Within your product development, marketing and sales, usually you'll have the biggest chunk of work, so make sure to split the time between each of them, to build your product and build an audience at the same time.

You could focus on what to put more focus on (depending on your product/business) but make sure that you're not overly working on one of those aspects without putting some work on other crucial aspects of your business.

4. Learn to say no

If you want more time, freedom, and energy, start saying no. While helping everyone is nice, you have to think of yourself and your time when building your startup.

It has happened to us that we don’t know how to say no and we end up doing lots of stuff that are shifting our focus to something not important and we lose the track that we had. If you can, avoid unnecessary meetings, instead vote for shorter, more productive necessary meetings that can add something to you as well.

It is not that you can't help someone from time to time, but if possible, avoid being a people pleaser and use that time to build your business and to reach your goals.

5. Give yourself time to rest if needed

We'll have heard crazy stories about founders that worked non-stop on their startups (yes, I'm talking about you, Elon). While this is amazing, you have to consider that you need some time to rest and recharge batteries if you want to build a your startup in the long run.

Building a sustainable business takes time, so enjoy the ride, trust the process and make sure you're not overworking; otherwise, you might find yourself without creativity, tired and lacking good ideas.

Go have a nice sleep night, play tennis, go to the gym, find some time to rest, and recharge (your partner will also appreciate this).

6. Develop a growth mindset

We've always been told that failing is bad and that we need to be ashamed when something like this happens. Let me break that thought for you, as failure is a huge aspect of being an entrepreneur.

In the startup world, failure is used to learn and improve your business and product. If you have a fixed mindset, you'll see mistakes as setbacks and won't be able to progress beyond that. When developing a growth mindset, you learn how to remain resilient, turning failures into opportunities.

Success is an accumulation of many failed business intents, dedication, and persistence. If you always have good moments when building your business, you won't be able to step up when rough times come.

Now, you have some tips to hack your productivity as a founder. Remember that it's important to set daily and weekly goals that can help you have some progress without stressing out too much about it.

Work on your own time, but remember that mornings are great for productivity. Use the prioritization matrix and time block your activities, and don't try to get things perfect at first.

While having a fixed mindset is good, try to develop a growth mindset that helps you get the best out of failures and grab opportunities where others can't.  

Get in touch with us if you're a founder looking to validate a business ideas or want to accelerate your startup. We’ve helped more than 100 startups and founders, and we’d be happy to have a chat with you.