Maintaining productivity at work can be a challenge for most business professionals. It can be very difficult to stay at the top of your game each and every day.

That’s why we asked 14 successful entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:

Q. What is your top tip for everyday productivity at work?

1. Start with your most impactful task

Before each workday, I make a list of the top three things that I need to accomplish that will make the biggest impact on moving my business forward. I stay focused on completing each task one at a time, and don’t allow other distractions such as emails or small tasks take over my day. —Diana Goodwin, AquaMobile

 

2. Manage deadlines

Keep two sets of deadlines. Have a master list of when things must be completed and a wish list of when you would prefer things get finished. Setting the bar higher for yourself reduces your chances of dropping the ball and making a mistake, or overlooking an important detail. —Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

3. Do the thing you dread first

Whatever you’re dreading the most, get it over with first. That way, you won’t spend your day worrying about it and procrastinating, and it won’t affect your energy levels because you’ll have already accomplished it. The key to staying productive is having a high level of energy throughout the day. It makes accomplishing tasks so much easier. —Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint, Massage Williamsburg

4. Block off your mental prime time

Identify when you are the most productive and focus on the tasks that are the highest priority to complete during that time. To do so, eliminate distractions such as calls and emails, and instead use the time you are at your mental best to accomplish your most important tasks. —Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC

5. Avoid multitasking

There is no such thing as multitasking—it’s actually rapidly changing tasks, reducing focus, and significantly increasing switching costs. To avoid the temptation to multitask, turn off all notifications so you control your communication flow. Batch tasks, including email, as much as possible. Create office hours, so you can have undisturbed time to execute. —Jonathan Gass, Nomad Financial

6. Establish a morning ritual

Setting a morning ritual has been instrumental in my daily productivity. Having a nourishing breakfast, getting in a workout, and setting aside time for meditation each morning helps prepare me for my day ahead by helping me stay focused and energized. —Mark Krassner, Expectful

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7. Make handwritten to-do lists

I’ve learned that keeping handwritten to-do lists on my desk helps me stay on track. If I am traveling, then I have a planner that has my handwritten to-do lists. I find it easier to get everything done on my list if I write it down. Keeping an electronic version on my phone or laptop just isn’t enough. —Kristin Marquet, Creative Development Agency, LLC

8. Ignore emails

I receive hundreds of emails per day and most of them are not important. I’ve found that closing out my email app so that I have to open and load emails manually a few times per day has helped me avoid distractions and focus more on tasks or projects. The same applies to turning off email notifications on my phone. —Stephen Hetzel, BidPrime

9. Get comfortable with delegation

You’ve got to learn how to let go of the small things and trust the people you’ve hired. Get comfortable delegating the things you can so you can focus on the big picture and give your full attention to tasks you can’t delegate. Being involved in every decision will hurt your productivity as a founder or manager. —Francois de Lame, Policygenius Inc.

10. Create a daily schedule

Map out your day and sort your tasks into piles that you want to get done before lunch and after lunch. This will help you to stay focused and be more productive. Start the day with little tasks, then build up to your most important tasks.  —Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

11. Take many breaks

At some point, my focus begins to wane. That’s because none of us were meant to sit for hours on end and maintain the same productivity. However, taking a 15 to 20 minute break will get the blood flowing and reenergize you to keep going. If you take these breaks every hour or so, you will actually get more work done than if you were just sitting there for hours. —Angela Ruth, Calendar

12. Make a priority list

Instead of a traditional to-do list, create a daily priority checklist. This way, each item is given a priority level that shows which tasks hold the most urgency and which tasks can be put off for the time being. When there is a daunting amount of tasks on my list, I like to set a time limit for each action to keep myself from spending too much time on any one item. —Stanley Meytin, True Film Production

13. Have a snack and stand up often

Eating something mid-morning and mid-afternoon will help you eliminate any hunger thoughts that you might have and allow you to remain productive. Also stretching those legs and going for a short walk (even if it’s around your cubicle) will promote blood flow and help you think better. —Alejandro Rioja, Flux Chargers

14. Invest in a smartwatch

Every time I get a notification on my phone, I’m immediately tempted to check Facebook or the news. I solved this distraction by investing in a smartwatch that has email notifications. What used to turn into a three-minute distraction is now a three-second flick of my wrist and swipe of my finger. —Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide

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