Fast company recently interviewed a number of CEOS to share their best productivity tips, here were the highlights.

1. Keep your ‘high-energy’ times open.

Sallie Krawcheck, founder and CEO of Ellevest, a goal-based investing platform for women:

“I have spent a lot of time figuring out how I work best and when I’m most productive. I organize my day around that. I am most creative first thing in the morning and, somehow bizarrely, after I turn out the light at night. I really try to leave time open in the morning because, many days, I wake up with a rush of ideas and I don’t want to lose them. The team here knows they’re going to get the 4 a.m. Slack from me. The rule is they don’t have to answer until they get in later.”


Also, I can sit all night trying to think, but as I’m going to sleep, then the ideas come. I keep the iPhone next to the bed, and will often have five or six things come to mind. That way, I can just jot them down and not lose them.


Masterly’s question to the community:

  • When is your most productive time of day? Comment below.


2. Be ruthless about eliminating interruptions

Dustin Moskovitz, CEO of Asana, a productivity and project management platform:

My biggest hurdle to productivity is interruptions. To accomplish something that requires deep thinking, I need to have at least an hour–ideally two to three–of contiguous free time on my calendar. This requires careful planning of group meetings that I do need to attend, and diligence to avoid unnecessary engagements.

We practice “No Meeting Wednesdays” to ensure that everyone at the company gets a large block of time to focus on heads-down work without having to fit it in between meetings. This may be our most valuable cultural practice, and I encourage every company to consider adopting it.

Additionally, we reflect frequently on whether our group activities are getting enough ROI to justify the interrupt and time expenditure. Recently, we decided to cut the number of all-hands meetings almost by half to give more time back to the team for focused work.


Masterly’s question to the community:

  • What processes do you put in place to ensure you have adequate time for deep work?




3. Get ideas out of your head

  • Carl Dorvil, founder and CEO of GEX Management, a publicly traded professional employer organization:

I can sometimes get caught in my head. The challenge for me is that my head gets so crammed with stuff that I feel overwhelmed. I need to communicate and delegate. So I’ve identified someone whom I’ve worked with for a long time who knows me well. I regularly have brain drain sessions with her. Sometimes we use a dry erase board. Other times we just write on the office window. Not pretty, but effective. Writing out what we’re discussing creates a linear map we can follow. Once the thoughts inside me get to the outside, she then helps me identify who on our team can pull weight and in what direction. It’s helped me see that I’m not alone and that we have resources other than myself to execute tasks.

I also manage my business conversations. I’ve learned that not only do I have a short attention span, but some people just like to hear themselves talk. And others drag on with necessary detail. With only a few exceptions, I now limit meetings to one hour. I also set parameters before we launch and then remind those in the meeting periodically how much time we have remaining. It helps keep us on point and makes us more efficient.


Masterly’s question to the community:

  • What’s your method of ‘brain dumping’?


Masterly’s launch week of a “continuous learning membership for busy people” is almost upon us starting @ 6:30pm Monday 11th February.


Interest for the first class with Productivity Guru David Allen is very high, so join now and secure your first week free!


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Cameron Muller
Cameron Muller

Heads up the community and digital success of Masterly, runs a business on his spare time and by nature, just an all-round passionately curious (and often cheeky) guy.