Bill Gates, Katia Beauchamp, Oliver Kharraz, Alexa von Tobel, Jennifer Hyman, and Christene Barberich are some of the most successful founders in the world. They've created products, businesses, and websites that have changed the way we live and the world we live in. And they all seem to have the same business mantra:
Keep things simple.
These six founders have truly mastered the art of cutting back so they have more space to do what they're good at. You know, like running some of the most impactful businesses on the planet.
Here we'll take a look at six simplicity hacks from these business masters, originally from this handy infographic by Resume.io.
1. Make decisions just once.
"Don't make the same decision twice. Spend time and thought to make a solid decision the first time so that you don't revisit the issue unnecessarily." These words of wisdom come from none other than Bill Gates -- co-founder of Microsoft. He's probably a good person to take advice from when it comes to productivity.
To avoid wasting time making decisions more than once, start by paring down your information until you only have the essentials.
According to a Columbia University study, having more information does not lend to making better decisions. Rather, it can have the opposite effect: not making a crucial decision at all because you're overwhelmed. The study revealed that if people have less information and given fewer options, they are more likely to make a decision.
Ask yourself -- what is the motivating factor of this decision? Then weigh your decision against the factor rather than other pieces of information.
2. Be clear about response times in emails.
Do you ever receive an email that needs a response, but you put it off and put it off until it's buried in that dark abyss that is your inbox, forever? Likely that email didn't have a clearly stated response time.
Co-founder of Birchbox, Kathia Beauchamp insists "that people in the company indicate when they need a response in all emails" because "it makes prioritization so much faster."
If you really want to be sure your email is given appropriate prioritization try writing who the email concerns and the action needed in the subject line. Then end the email by including a clear indication of what they're required to do and by when.
3. Get a good night's sleep.
"Get a good night's sleep," said Oliver Kharraz when asked about his productivity tips. After all, this co-founder of ZocDoc is "a neurologist married to a medicine sleep doctor." He should know.
Other experts agree. A 2007 Harvard report showed that the effects of lack of sleep include reduced efficiency and productivity, more errors, and more accidents.
If sleep eludes you try minimizing noise, light, and artificial lights from your devices, and try to keep a regular schedule around your daily routines.
4. Use automation.
Automation allows us to concentrate on more important tasks and eliminate decision fatigue -- which is probably something you've felt whether you know it or not. It's that feeling of no longer being able to make decisions effectively after a long bout of decision-making.
Investor and founder of LearnVest, Alexa Von Tobel, had this to say about automation in her own life. "The more tasks that are low excitement, like ordering paper towels, that can be taken off my plate and fully automated, the better. I then have the energy and the brainpower for things that are real decisions I need to make."
So unless you really love buying paper towels, get that stuff automated.
5. Turn off notifications.
"Don't spend your day managing to inbox zero. Pick one to two problems every day that are important for you to dig into strategically and allot real-time to them by cutting off your access to email, texts, and social media notifications that seduce all of us out of the zone."
Jennifer Hyman, founder of Rent the Runway, is certainly onto something here. In fact, the average person touches their phone 2,617 per day. Turning off notifications is a proven way to minimize distractions and be more productive.
6. Treat yourself after difficult tasks.
Whatever your preferred reward -- a nice dinner, a cupcake (or three), a new pair of shoes, a massage -- research shows that many people find rewards increase their motivation. Among those people is the founder of Refinery29, Christene Barberich.
"If there's a particularly gnarly task I'm dreading doing -- and usually the reason why I'm dreading is because I have fear about confronting it -- I try to determine a fun reward that will help motivate me through it."
This will give you something to work toward; an immediate gift for completing a daunting task.
We may not all be playing in the same game as some of these founders, but it certainly doesn't hurt to borrow from the playbooks of masters. Take these six simplicity hacks and apply them to your own business and life.
And when you've done all that, don't forget to treat yourself.