Whether it's Mark Cuban, Richard Branson, or Barbara Corcoran, the world's top entrepreneurs have their own little tricks for being super productive. Good thing Inc.'s talked to plenty of them about everything from task-mastering to broad productivity strategy.
Here's the best advice these maverick entrepreneurs have about getting more done.
"Find somebody else to run [your] business on a day-to-day basis. Don’t always try to sit in the driver’s seat yourself. Don’t always try to be the top person in the building. If you can, be brave... give them your title--and step aside. Then you can start thinking about the bigger picture."
--Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group
"The productiveness of any meeting depends on the advance thought given the agenda, and you should never leave a meeting without writing a follow-up list with each item assigned to one person. And go outside. All the big ideas are on the outside. You’ll never have a creative idea at your desk."
--Barbara Corcoran, founder of Corcoran Group
"I carry my laptop with me everywhere. If I have any downtime during the day, I'll jump on my computer and answer e-mails. At least once a week, I log in to Ustream, a free video streaming site that lets you interact with people...I believe that kind of one-on-one engagement with people is key to growing my personal brand."
--Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of VaynerMedia
"I usually get up at 6:30 and go to a Pilates class near my house. Exercising helps me maintain calm. Before I leave for work, I have a cup of decaf coffee and spend 30 minutes reading...In the early days, I did everything. My biggest challenge has been letting go and letting people do their jobs."
--Trina Turk, fashion designer
"Meetings are a waste of time unless you are closing a deal. There are so many ways to communicate in real time or asynchronously that any meeting you actually sit for should have a duration and set outcome before you agree to go."
--Mark Cuban, CEO of HDNet and Dallas Mavericks owner
"In the morning I stand up, scratch a little bit, then I light a candle and I meditate. Every morning. I’ve been meditating for maybe 20 years. I meditate so I can make choices--so I’m not a sheep all the time. So I can see better than what everyone else is doing."
--Russell Simmons, founder of the hip-hop label Def Jam
"I don't have an assistant--no one at One Kings Lane does. I keep track of my meetings, phone calls, and travel arrangements in Outlook. I also carry a paper calendar with me everywhere, and keep a separate calendar at home."
--Alison Pincus, co-founder of One Kings Lane
"Follow Jeff Bezos’s two-pizza rule: Project teams should be small enough to feed with two pizzas."
--Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr
"If I think something is going to take me an hour, I give myself 40 minutes. By shrinking your mental deadlines, you work faster and with greater focus. I also schedule time every week on my calendar for quiet, concentrated PowerTime where I only work on my most important activities."
--Krissi Barr, founder of consulting firm Barr Corporate Success
"Cut down on sleep. Why would you sleep when it’s time to live? Sleeping isn’t living. You sleep when you die. I get up at 3:30 every morning and I’m at the gym by 4. Then I ride 25 miles on my bike before breakfast. Being in shape is what gives me energy."
--Jordan Zimmerman, founder of Zimmerman Advertising