As an entrepreneur you definitely know that every split second counts, and that free time is more valuable than gold. As a result, you probably already put your nose to the grindstone and try to take on as much as possible day in and day out.

But the best and brightest don't just work harder to get the most out of every second of the day - they also work smarter. They throw some conventional notions about productivity out the window, and find better, brighter ways to get the most juice for the squeeze when it comes to their spare time.

Without further ado, here are some of the methods of the ultra-productive that you can adopt today:

They cut corners

Bill Gates once said "I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it."

The word "lazy" has so many negative stigmas in the office (and rightfully so), but the lethargic do get something right. At LexION Capital, my team is always looking for the quickest, most efficient way to get from point A to point B, and yours should too. For instance, we always ask if there's a way to automate a task instead of wasting time doing it, which might be considered "lazy" by some managers.

Don't get me wrong--you won't find my team taking a nap or producing subpar results, but you will find a more efficient workday because they're focused on minimizing work. Instead of flexing their muscles and bragging about how hard they toil, your team should also be proud when they found a way to work less.

They eat a frog

No, I'm not speaking about the French delicacy (which is delicious, but I digress). Mark Twain (who obviously didn't share my palate) famously claimed "If you eat a frog first thing in the morning that will probably be the worst thing you do all day."

Productivity expert Brian Tracy says "Your 'frog' is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it." He recommends tackling those tasks "before you do anything else and without taking too much time to think about it."

Not only does this method avoid procrastination, but it's also a way to tackle things that take the most mental resources when you have the most energy in your fuel tank. As the workday goes on, even the best of us feel a mental energy drain--and that's when you'll breathe a sigh of relief because the hardest part of your day is done already.

They love theme days

Don't implement a Hawaiian shirt day in the office just yet. Look no further than Jack Dorsey-he's the CEO of two companies (Twitter and Square), and he manages to stay productive and keep his head above water by chunking up each workday by theme.

"There are interruptions all the time," Dorsey said. "But I can quickly deal with an interruption and know it's Tuesday-I have product meetings and I need to focus on product stuff. It also sets a good cadence for the rest of the company."

Even if you can't theme a whole day, it's worth considering Dorsey's method for chunking some of up your time. For instance, mornings could be focused on management, while afternoons could be focused on product development. When I do this, I've noticed an increased focus because I'm not jumping between topics, and the similar tasks seem to find a productive synergy and build off each other.

They hate email

Contrary to popular belief, constant business communication might not be so productive.

Microsoft decided to study this phenomenon in their workers and found that it took people an average of 15 minutes to return to their important projects every time they were pestered by e-mails, phone calls, or other communication.

If you can't completely ignore email, consider finding a way to pare down the amount of them you check at once. I always want to be in contact with clients, so it's impossible for me to completely blow off my inbox. However, I do make it smaller by filtering out unimportant emails, and setting a priority system for responding to them. There are plenty of methods for avoiding this distraction - another option you can use is having an employee monitor some of your accounts.

They steer clear of meetings

Mark Cuban once said "Never take meetings unless someone is writing a check."

After spending the better part of a decade dealing with hours-long meetings, I wholeheartedly agree. While it might seem efficient to speak to multiple people at once, most traditional meetings accomplish little besides burning time and money. One study by Bain and Company even discovered that the average CEO wasted a whole day every week on inefficient get-togethers.

If you absolutely have a burning desire to hold a meeting, make it as short and concise as possible. I give my rare meetings an abrupt stopping point of 20 minutes, because I've seen how easily they bloat, and you should too. Another way to avoid the meeting wormhole is to stick to one or two topics instead of trying to cover every talking point that comes to mind.

What smart productivity methods have you discovered? I want to hear from you!

Published on: Mar 30, 2016
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