Ep. #962 - Productivity Hacks for Entrepreneurs
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, we’re exploring the best productivity hacks for entrepreneurs. Matt DeCoursey also picks Hadi Radwan’s brain, co-founder of Asteya, about managing companies and how to stack up activities to help you achieve more in a day.
Covered In This Episode
An entrepreneur’s day is a jam-packed to-do list. So how can you find balance while multitasking and yet still be focused on the important things?
Matt and Hadi are here to share their best tips for maximizing your productivity! The founders talk about becoming hyper-focused on your priorities while multitasking. They also dive into the challenges that hinder productivity and how to conquer them.
Stay tuned for more productivity hacks for entrepreneurs in this Startup Hustle episode.
- Hadi Radwan’s backstory (01:59)
- Challenges to productivity as an entrepreneur (04:21)
- Stacking activities together and becoming productive (08:10)
- Multitasking and the debate on its effectiveness (10:07)
- What are activities that you can stack together? (12:29)
- Frameworks and mental models to help you do things faster (13:24)
- Hadi’s morning routine (15:15)
- On being hyper-focused and lacking sleep (17:28)
- Habits that help you stay focused (20:55)
- Having a “coach” or “mentor” to help you stay accountable (23:19)
- About staying on schedule (24:24)
- Taking notes and creating a to-do-list (29:51)
- Being efficient in answering requests (33:03)
- Having problem solvers rather than asking advice askers (36:41)
- A rundown on productivity hacks (39:37)
If you’re lethargic, let’s say you don’t have enough energy throughout the day first. A task will take longer to be executed. And if you don’t have energy as well, you probably don’t want to do the task, or you delay it. Or you set it at a different timescale. So these are, I think, the two challenges of managing multiple time zones and keeping your energy level high.– Hadi Radwan
The people around you can suck your productivity out of you. If you’ve heard the phrase death by a thousand tiny cuts, a lot of times, your employees are the ones making those cuts. So I invented this thing I call the “rule of yes.” If you think I’m going to say yes 90% of the time, don’t ask. Just do it, and I will deal with the 10% of the time that you’re wrong.– Matt DeCoursey
I do meetings while walking to get my steps in. And this gives me a perspective from being active and looking outside the work environment. Because now that you’re walking, you have the blue sky in front of you. You have a wider vision, which gives your eyesight a little bit more relaxation. Allowing you to go back to your desk and be more productive.– Hadi Radwan
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt DeCoursey 00:01
And we’re back! Back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here to have another conversation I’m hoping helps your business grow. Do you want to get more stuff done? Because I think most people in life, in general, do. Now, with that, increasing your productivity personally or as an entrepreneur can be a real challenge, and sometimes, it can also be really simple. That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about during today’s episode. And before I introduce the person we’re gonna have a conversation with, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult, and Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And has the platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. There’s a link in the show notes that will help you get there much faster. With me today, I’ve got Hadi Radwan. Hadi is the co-founder of Asteya. That is an insurer tech company out of Miami, Florida; well-funded, gaining traction and moving forward. I guess I’ll just go ahead and say a hearty welcome to Startup Hustle.
Hadi Radwan 01:08
Thank you for having me on the show. Great to be here. Thank you.
Matt DeCoursey 01:12
Yeah, let’s go ahead and get let’s go ahead and kick this off with a little bit of your backstory.
Hadi Radwan 01:20
Yeah, absolutely. So I started in the insurance industry 10 years ago. And I noticed something very interesting about it that hasn’t changed for a while, especially when it comes from the tech stack. So after learning the ins and outs of the industry and after being entrenched in almost every department, I noticed that there are certain pain points that can be improved via technology. And this is where we started a step back in 2019. We wanted to make what we call “income insurance” accessible for everyone in the US. The reality is a lot of people focus on life insurance. They say, okay if something bad happens to me, I want to leave my family with that or a mortgage called lifestyle expenses. The reality is what happens to you if an illness hits you or an accident. And you’re still alive, but you cannot work anymore, or you cannot work for periods of time. What do you do with the income that is no longer there? So this is what I say as we try to protect people’s income by offering them digital insurance products. And we do that by allowing people to enroll on our website and get their policy within a few minutes.
Matt DeCoursey 02:45
Okay, so with that, and you’ve been an entrepreneur, I see there have been some congratulations on receiving funding for your company. And, you know, it’s like to get into the numbers with which you can Google what Hadi does and what a stay does. And that info is pretty easy to find. But with that, that probably made you a busy entrepreneur and also someone that probably needed to increase your productivity. There’s an old saying that says all you can do is all you can do. So all we can do is figure out how we can get more done in the allotted amount of time we have every day. While so many things are scalable, the amount of time you have and a day is not. So you know, we’re going to talk a little bit about productivity hacks for entrepreneurs overall. As an entrepreneur, what have been some of the challenges for you when it comes to general productivity? Go ahead and lay a few things out. And I’ll lay a few things out myself.
Hadi Radwan 03:41
That’s a great question. And I use your 100% time is finite, that you’re just that 24 hours per day. And you want to do multiple things. You have family, you have friends, work, you have your own person and lifestyle, from going to the gym to even eating. So productivity is key. Because if you figure out ways to be very productive, you can shrink activities and stack them together. And as an entrepreneur myself, working in a company that is fully remote, we work across three different time zones. So I have people in Asia, I have people in Europe, I have people in the US, and I need to be attentive to most of the timings. And that has become a real challenge. Now that we moved to the remote in the previous, my previous work. I did not have to do that because I was in one office with everyone in the organization. So it just worked from eight to five. Let’s say this is where you need to be productive. Now, you know there are no more boundaries with the remote working expectations, and the perception is that if you look to be or appear to be online, you’re working. And that’s the expectation, not so. Oh, that’s one of the challenges that made me look into being more productive. And by productive and defined primarily having enough energy to carry the day because if you’re lethargic, let’s say, or do not have enough energy throughout the day, the first task will take longer to be executed, let’s say. And if you’re if you don’t have energy as well, you probably don’t want to do the task, or you delay it, or you set it on a different type. So these are, I think, the two challenges of being able to manage multiple time zones and keeping your energy level high.
Matt DeCoursey 05:41
I have the same issue when it comes to time zones, Full Scale. Once again, FullScale.io is my company, and we have almost 300 employees in the Philippines. Now I’m in Central Time and Kansas, USA, and I have 13 different time zones. They don’t also don’t do daylight savings time. So sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less, and I have people that are working 24 hours a day. So I think you kind of run if you talk about energy. Now I have an attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. I don’t find it to be a disorder. I actually find it to be a big driver. Now, it took me years to kind of figure out how to get that lightning in a bottle. So energy isn’t the thing that I’m short of. What I’m short of is time. And I think that you know, for those of you that aren’t aware, I wrote a book called Balanced Me, which is about finding balance in your personal, professional and physical life. And you end up with things you need to do and all of those categories. And for me, as you mentioned, the term stalking, we can talk a little bit more about that. One of the things that I recommend in the book is, first off, you have to begin to assign a value to the things that you need or want to do. And I think when it comes to productivity, it’s not like it’s not really judged by how many. Oh, hey, I got 12 things off my list today. Well, if they’re all low-value, who cares? Right? So for me, it starts with a little bit of prioritization. And the highest value activities are anything that moves you towards a goal that you have in life. Right. So, you know, so things and then sometimes, so anything that will move you towards a goal that you have in the category of your personal, professional or physical life is a high-value activity. What aren’t high-value activities like watching TV, playing video games, and oftentimes driving your car? So we mentioned the term stalking. I mean, I think one of the first hacks and tips that I’ll give is I try to make my phone calls while I’m in the car. Because driving inherently is not a high-value activity. So you can stack something else in there. So when I’m in front of my desk or my computer, I can focus on other things. And as that’s by your definition, stalking, right?
Hadi Radwan 08:10
Absolutely. So I do the same, but I do it while walking. So I do meetings while walking to get my steps. And this gives me a perspective from first being active and looking outside, you know, the work environment, because now you’re walking, you have the blue sky in front of you, you have a wider vision, which gives your eyesight a little bit more relaxation. And that allows you to go back to your desk and be more productive as a restaurant. I do stack if you want activities that are adjacent, so I cannot drive and, for example, type, right? But I can walk and do a call or respond to my emails, I can actually be someone who works from home, I can cook, and I can, let’s say, do a meeting, or I wouldn’t be able to do an interview, but definitely, a short meeting with someone in another continent I can do it while stalking is a very easy to deploy productivity hack. I can actually do as well walking and listening to a podcast and then, you know, taking notes via some voice technology on my iPhone.
Matt DeCoursey 09:27
Now that you know, there’s a whole school of thought when it comes to multitasking that doesn’t want you to stack things. I personally don’t subscribe to it. I don’t believe in it. I, by nature, need to be doing several things. And you know that has a lot to do with that. I think that another stackable thing now we’re talking about is productivity hacks for entrepreneurs. Now look, these hacks don’t just have to be related to work because if you’re poor. So your personal, professional, and physical life all rely on each other. So if your personal life ends up falling apart or your physical life ends up falling apart, you’re not going to be able to pay that attention. And that obsession into the business, and I find a lot of entrepreneurs are, so I’ve had people asking me about my book because it says, balance me there, like, is this a life balance book, I actually write it. But I don’t believe that life balance is a real thing, especially for an entrepreneur. Like, there are times when you can feel like your efforts are distributed well. And then times if there’s not, I think that actual act of trying to keep things balanced is good. Exercise is a very stackable thing. As you mentioned. Before I became an entrepreneur, I had a job where I was a district sales manager, and I had the nickname The Walking sales rep. Because I was always out walking when I made my calls, I didn’t think it was easy for me to do the same thing. And occasionally, like, they would hear a lawn mower like a dog, or they’re like, where are you at the park? I’m like, No, I’m walking. So I would walk, you know, sometimes five up to 10 miles in a day, and I was in great shape. I wasn’t like out there walking with dumbbells in my hands. I was just staying active. I also shared with you before we started the conversation that I have a gym in my house, and I’ll actually have some of my local employees come by so we can do a sales meeting or something. And you know, we’re not like, you know, dripping in sweat, but it’s not any I think anything I’m getting old, Hadi, I’m 47 men, like anything that keeps these old bones moving is a good thing for me. So what are some others that are your most stackable things exercise in the end and calls?
Hadi Radwan 11:51
So basically, it’s a great way to put it because, as you mentioned, if you do certain activities, like walking and doing your calls, especially sales calls, changing your physiology, it gives you a different way of delivering your message, you have more confidence because you can walk expand your reach by, you know, moving your shoulder blades. So there’s a lot of physiology that you can implement. And certainly now and other calls, that can be a disadvantage, right? If you’re doing a board meeting, you don’t want to be walking and there’s noise out there or cars honking left and right, right. So that’s, that’s one part of it. Other stacking. So the way I do my productivity Hacks is, as I mentioned, there’s the energy element. And then there’s the shortcuts. So I have a lot of frameworks and mental models that I deploy, so that it allows me to get things done faster, and be able to do them in a short period of time. So few of the mental models are like the Eisenhower matrix, which you have the two by two matrix, important and urgent. And then you figure out which tasks were the other shortcut, or something that I’ve trained myself to do is having inbox zero. So being in a position where I have like 80 employees in the organization, I need to avoid being the bottleneck myself. So if someone’s calling me or messaging or emailing, I need to make sure that I get things moving within the organization. So this is another shortcut or mental model that I use, which has helped me a lot. But as you mentioned, you know, going back to why I focused a lot on having enough energy throughout the day, if you want to start not tasks, but having, you know, time for your family and for your business. If you have more energy throughout the day, you can expand the time that you can work. Because if you’re tired, and you want to sleep eight hours or 10 hours per day, just 14 hours to do the rest of the things. If you have 16 hours now we have an additional two hours that you can use for whatever goals or objectives you have. So I have a morning routine, which I tend to follow but not religiously, because there are certain things that I can no longer do. And I’ll walk you through that if it’s something of interest to you. So in the morning, when I wake up, it’s very important for me to do some stretches, some physical exercises to get the body going. And this helps me in my mobility to get always active to always have that energy flowing in the morning. And there’s a small technique that I’ve learned from one of the podcasts I was listening to. It’s called Visual Looking at the sky in the morning for 10 to 15 minutes, just opening the window looking up into the blue sky racecar doesn’t matter as long as light comes into your eyes, it sets your biological clock so that at that point in time later, when you want to sleep, your internal clock knows that now’s the time to turn off and immediately to sleep. Because if you think sleep is as important as waking up if you can, sleep immediately. And don’t waste time and not fall into the trap of insomnia, you can actually be efficient in the time where you’re not active at all. So if you go to bed, let’s say at 10, and you sleep immediately at 10.1. That’s great efficiency, you didn’t waste time and now you wake up at six or five, you’ve got your full night’s sleep, you have your energy, you’re good to go. So that’s another hack that I found, I found very useful, but you need to do it constantly. And sometimes you miss it right? So I tend to remember it as much as possible.
Matt DeCoursey 16:12
I have a couple of rebuttals to that. Because I’m on the opposite side. So you mentioned inbox zero. Right now I am at 10,717. I am the opposite of inbox zero. And then also, I am not. I’ve never been a regular sleeper, the idea that you mentioned is like 10. And you know, here you are in bed at 10. And then 1001, I actually play into these things. So the reason that I’ve got 10,000 unanswered or unopened emails is a lot of it’s just crap. And I just let it go. You know, so I mean some of that. So one of the things I think with productivity is people think about doing more, oftentimes doing less equates to you doing more, I think one of the most efficient things that you can do in business and in life is sometimes sometimes the solution or the choice that has the most efficiency attached to it is to just stop doing something altogether. We talked about the value of activities, and it’s really easy to get sucked in. Now when it comes to the sleep thing. So I think that entrepreneurs are usually quite often driven people. So we have a lot of energy already and a lot, there are a lot of profiles like to add types. And here’s the thing, entrepreneurship and business ownership is stressful. So it comes with a lot of anxiety. And that’ll keep you up at night. Now one of the things that I used to do like 10 years ago, as I go to try to go to bed at 10. And I just lay there and you talk about looking at the sky, I just look at the ceiling for like three hours trying to go to sleep, the reason you can’t sleep is because something is on your mind. And for me, the best way to fix that is to just go solve whatever issue or whatever you’re thinking about, because otherwise, you’re just gonna lay there and probably not sleep anyway. So I’m kind of weird and scattered in that regard. Like, I don’t have an easy time scheduling when or how I’m going to be productive. But when I am, I’m hyper productive, like I can lock in. And when I get into that zone, I do everything in my power to stay in it as long as I can. Because anything can knock you off like I’m so I’m recording this right now. And I actually have a home recording studio, and I lock my door, I will be in my art. And this is also my office. So I’ll lock it Now why do I lock it because something as simple as, like, a kid or a wife or anything, just like poking the head can completely knock me out of this focus and that’s already a fragile thing for people with ADHD. So, you know, like, I’ll do things to minimize the external distractions. So yeah, so like, you seem like you’re, you’re structured. And, and so there are people that rely on that. And I think there’s also people like me that kind of rely on the chaos of things because I can’t. I don’t know, like, maybe you’re busy. Maybe you just do a better job of running a business than I do. But I think the thing that I’ve learned after 10 plus years as a business owner is that all businesses always have problems and all software has bugs. So the idea that we’re going to solve all of the world’s problems in the immediacy is a little naive. So sometimes you gotta just back up and do something. I want to hear your rebuttal to that. But before we do that, I want to remind everyone that finding experts, and software developers does not have to be difficult, especially when you visit FullScale.io where you can build a software team quickly and affordably. You can use the false scale platform to define your technical needs and then see what available developers, testers and leaders are ready to join your team FullScale.io. To learn more, there’s a link in the show notes. By the way, one other thing you mentioned is looking at the sky or walking in the morning. Sometimes I sing really loud, try to just belt out your favorite Oh, song that gets the blood pumping. And for those people that are a lot of people are insecure about their speaking voice or their voice in general. That will make your voice really strong.
Hadi Radwan 20:36
No, you’re absolutely right. I mean, every individual is different. That’s the reality. For me what I’ve, what I’ve what worked quite well is journaling at the end of the day, your thoughts and your problems, putting them on paper and leaving them there for the next day, because, as you mentioned, we cannot solve all the problems that that your company, or, or your family or the world has, right? Problems are all with that. So you have to just understand that, if you’re pausing, you’re taking a break, and then you’re coming back to them. So just putting them on paper gives my mind the ability to relax and then resume the next day. And you know, one of the tricks that I’ve found that has been helpful, but they’re a little bit painful. So now other people can do it by just taking a cold shower in the morning. So go out, have a run or just do some exercises to get the blood pumping in your brain, and then jump into the cold shower. And that activates your energy level for the rest of the day. But again, it’s very painful, you need to be trained on that.
Matt DeCoursey 21:54
So let’s get to like well, scheduling like calls, or I record this podcast. So this technically started at 10am where I’m at, it’s not exactly the crack of dawn, but I got to take kids to school and help with that. But having a conversation, like singing, talking, anything that gets you moving, I think is the key. And I think a lot of people really struggle with that. I mean, these adults have to be realistic. Like there’s one thing to be idealistic, it’s another thing to be realistic, you know, sometimes we have a couple beers or a glass of wine or something like that. And you might feel that in the morning. And then the thing is, you can shake that off, you just gotta get up and do it. Now, did Nike say it best when it came to productivity when they just said just do it?
Hadi Radwan 22:39
And that’s the hardest part, right? Because if you think about it, there are two things that drive what you do. One is action. And then the second one is the will, the will to take the action. And a lot of people have the perception that they want to do something, but they don’t take the action to do it. And that’s the hard part. It’s something to train. It’s something that you probably need a mentor or a coach, if you cannot do it. If you go, you see a lot of people that go to the gym, right? They need a coach, they need someone to call them and say, Hey, from six to seven, you’re coming with me to the gym. They accountability, accountability, exactly. Very few can do it on their own. I’m one of the few because I’m very structured, as you said. So I have to. Well, I have the right perception, the right frame of problems. For me, any obstacle or problem is a way to find an opportunity behind it. It’s just the way you reframe it, or convince your mind about it. And that’s hard as well, you need to train it, you need to have that muscle memory going on all the time.
Matt DeCoursey 23:46
You know, another productivity hack, I think. So I’m also the founder of Gigabook.com. It’s a scheduling platform. It’s actually what you use to schedule this recording. And you know, one of the things that balanced me, I did interviews with a lot of Highly Successful People we had like rock stars, gold medal Olympians. And you know, one of the conversations in that book was with a guy named Joel comments who’s a keyboardist in a band called unfreeze McGee, and they have been touring and playing big shows for over 20 years. And his advice for products related to productivity was to not overload your schedule. So the assumption you should go into every day with is that there will be distractions and a lot of stuff is going to take longer than you think it will. Now if you end up so a lot of people like Hey, I gotta be productive and so they they jam-packed their calendar with a million things and that’s actually counterproductive and a lot of cases because what happens as you get this waterfall effect, where if the first thing you’re doing and the more you end up skipping things, other things, you know, roll over, so I put buffers and like, actually, as we built gaggle buck, I insisted on being able to add buffers to certain things, because I might want to tell you if we’re going to do a phone conference that it’s 30 minutes, but I need 15 minutes on either side to either I don’t know, get my shit together, or like, if it’s, you know, if we have a few minutes that spill over so everything isn’t just this waterfall of chaos down the road. So give yourself a buffer? Because I mean real, is it fair? I think it’s fair to say that things almost always take longer than you think they’re gonna take.
Hadi Radwan 25:34
Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I mean, we had the opposite, right? I like to chunk things. So I call it chunking, where I tried to get activities back to back, but in a very efficient way. So in the past, I used to go to the gym like everyone else. And it took me 3540 51 hours to complete an exercise, because I have time. Now, when you have more responsibility, I managed to figure out how I can get the same, or even more impact with the same effort maybe, but in less time. So I chunked an activity, I do the same with meetings. So I am my current view, which is 15 or 30 minutes, and I have it in my signature. If someone wants to talk to me. This is what we need to abide by. And we need to be efficient during the call, so that we can get things done. So I like to chunk things and stack them together so that I have more things done within the same timeframe.
Matt DeCoursey 26:35
Well, let’s talk about that for a second. Because you mentioned Calendly, I’m the founder of Gigabook, I look whether you use Gigabook or not use some form of online scheduling. Because if you don’t do well, first off, I kind of feel like it’s weird when someone doesn’t send me their calendar. You spend a lot of time going back and forth. I don’t know how you are available at 1pm on Wednesday, and then I have to wait for it to make you send an email that says Well, Matt, I’m not available at 1pm on Wednesday, but I am available from nine to 10 on Thursday, is that good for you? And then I reply, I’m like, No, that’s not good for me. How about Friday three. And then by the time that’s all done, we’ve spent more time messing around with, you know, here’s like, here it is, pick a time, click it and like Gigabook sets up the Zoom call, I think Calendly probably does too. Calendly is like the bait, the super basic version of Gigabook. So like, out of mana, like it’s free. If that’s all you need is simple, like a bridge to your Google Calendar. Go for it if you need something more complex that collects forms and customization and a lot of stuff like that. That’s what we do at Gigabook. And, you know, like, I mean, when someone sends a request to an appointment with you, or they’re like, hey, and they send you a big list of likes, when their times are available. Do you just think, man, you gotta take this online dude.
Hadi Radwan 27:59
Absolutely, I mean, that’s the reason I have it in my signature. And I refer to it just for ease of coordination, because as you said, you might lose time. And remember, this is asynchronous messaging. So you might message me, I go into a meeting, and I can get back to you after 30 minutes, 60 minutes now we’ve lost more than just one hour. So I like to find these tools that save time. Another tool, which is very interesting. I’ve recently had a chat with the founder. It’s called magical. So it’s like an extension on your Chrome. And it allows you to save let’s say certain text that you want to send four people multiple times. And then you pick a hack like you do with Excel CTRL A and then it’s automatically copied and pasted. So it saves a lot of time rekeying in the same message over and over again. So I like these hacks as well that are very helpful when you’re in sales and marketing and cold emailing and reading and reaching out to guests, for example, on podcasts that could be very useful.
Matt DeCoursey 29:13
I know we’re sitting here trying to share the secrets of the mystical secrets of successful entrepreneurs. But how about just the good old fashioned way to do less? You know, I write it down, you know, now as digital so as the owner of a tech company that’s on the Inc 5000 I still do a handwritten list man. There’s just something I have tried to do a lot of digital stuff like a Gigabook to-do list I’ve tried to do list and I mean, there’s a bunch of them. And really in the end like it’s still like here it is I’m holding it up and it’s a mess. But part of what I do is I want it to be a mask because I rewrite it about every other day and I find that I almost shamed myself into doing a bunch of stuff because I’m like, okay, I can sit there and rewrite this shit for the sixth time. And you’re like, just do it, just get it done. So I will actually knock multiple items off of my list recopying. So as I do that, I’m kind of in this, I don’t know, it keeps things going. And, you know, just makes it pretty easy for me to jot stuff down. I really have tried to go digital with so many people, and there’s a lot of people that are good like me, if you have an Apple Watch, or an iPhone, or any of that stuff like Siri will help you with it. It just hasn’t been my jam. But I think the key is to continue, like, look, you can sort it later. But write it down somewhere. So don’t forget to do it. There, I think there’s nothing worse than constantly having to tell someone, someone else’s relying on you. They need an answer from you so they can be productive. And you’re like, oh, man, I forgot that again. So I got another one too. So I invented this, I call it the rule of Yes. So look, there, the people around you can suck your productivity out of you. It’s if you’ve ever heard the phrase death by 1000, tiny cuts, a lot of times your employees are the ones making those cuts. So I invented this thing. I call it the rule of Yes. If you think I’m going to say yes, 90% of the time, don’t ask, just do it. And I will deal with the 10% of the time that you’re wrong. So this doesn’t apply to things that are like, Hey, can I be late for the ninth day in a row? That’s not what this is intended to do? But you’ll find you get people like, Hey, we’re out of envelopes. Should I buy more? Yeah, probably, you know, you don’t need to ask the CEO that but the rule of Yes. And I empower people to flex that I’m like, just go take care of it. You know, don’t ask, don’t let me get in the way. And that improved my productivity tremendously. Because I didn’t have to sit there and go through that stuff. Another thing too, is that in the same vein, you’ll get people that will ask you a question every time they have one. If you’ve got people like that around, you just ask them to write them down and ask you all at once. So it’s not six different distractions. It’s one quick little list that you go through heavy, heavy, you’re not in your head. So I’m assuming you’ve had the same issue and problem?
Hadi Radwan 32:25
Yeah, absolutely. Especially when you’re in your remote team, you get different requests at a different point in time, every time something pops up in someone’s head, they write it down. And then you expect to, you know, reply to them. Now, what I’ve done from a productivity perspective is I’ve trained myself to be efficient and answer back. And the requests that take more time, my rule of thumb is to reply immediately and tell people that I need this much time to get back to you. Because the reality is that the asynchronous and a city between the messaging puts people with the perception that, hey, this person really is not responding to me, I’m not as important to them. So I like to always get back and say, Okay, here’s the answer, if I can get it to you immediately, if I can, give me a note, leave me a message. If I can create if I can’t, here’s the timeline where I will deliver, like, I have a report to review, or I have a marketing campaign to look at the statistics, I would get back to people say, Okay, I need a couple of days, or three days or five days so that they have also the ability not to wait or not to expect that I did not answer them.
Matt DeCoursey 33:48
Or I forgot as you mentioned, I think you’re spot on with that. Yeah, I think if you reply to people quickly, and you just tell them like, Hey, I’m going to need to fire I can’t I can’t do this, right, the second that’s going to make now if you wait three days, and then tell him that that’s a different delivery, that I’ll put a little twist on that. I’ll say, Hey, I’m gonna need three days. If you haven’t heard from me by Wednesday, at the end of the day, ask me again and if I get to that point, for some reason, I’ve forgotten it or spaced it out or whatever. I’ll make that a priority, especially with someone’s following up. But I think a lot of times people you work with are shy about, well, I didn’t want to bug you. Well bug me. Because if I’m in the way of you getting your job done, I need to know that. And that can be a problem. I had that same issue, especially as the company’s gotten bigger, because, you know, and that’s, that’s where I’m going to move to the good old world of delegation. I think you got to look at how we talked about the value of time and there is a saying that I hear so many entrepreneurs and leaders make that they’re like, well, it’s faster if I just do it. I was wrong. Because you are if you don’t learn if you don’t let other people learn how to take all this stuff off your plate, and you’re so well, I can do it myself faster. You’re sensing yourself to always having to do it. And we talked about stacking. This is a bad stack. These things stack up. And next thing you know, you’re spending your, you know, that’s been a real Hadi that has been one of my personal battles that I’ve really had to be militant with myself to try to push those things back. And I asked myself, I’m like, is this what I should be doing? And, you know, you mentioned like, you have a lot of employees, I’ve got a lot of employees who can do the job. And I think when it comes to productivity, if they’re things that you don’t like doing, or things that you’re not great at, those are going to be the things you’re going to procrastinate and not do. So those should probably be the first thing that you get off your plate by getting someone to do it. Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up.
Hadi Radwan 36:00
You’re absolutely right. And I think when you’re running a company, it boils down to the quality of the hire literally bringing on board because if you get someone who on his resume is great, but they asked you questions, they need your advice every time, they cannot figure it out like a solution on their own. It reduces your productivity because now you have to attend. And the scalability of this goes literally to a different level when you’re managing 50 employees or 100, or 2000, or 3000, as the company grows. So it’s important that one of my productivity hacks is to find the right hire and get it right from the beginning. And this is where it boils down for me having certain interview questions that bring out characteristics or values that tell me, okay, this is a person who is a self-starter, or she’s a self-starter, they can find solutions for problems, they can actually go and do the research before coming and say, Hey, do this work? Can you help me out? And I think sometimes there’s a luck element here because even the questions might fool you at a point in time. So I like to make sure my productivity starts from the hire itself rather than the task or, eventually, the actual characters.
Matt DeCoursey 37:28
Yeah, and that can be a challenge sometimes. Because, as you said in an interview, sometimes, I mean, having hired hundreds of people in my life at this point, I will say that you never know what kind of a job they’re going to do till they show up and do it. I have had people like some of the triple plus interviewees that I’ve had have been shitty employees because they show up and their heads in a different place. Like, you know, and that and that happens. Well, speaking of productivity and efficiency, man, we are almost out of time, and I like to end my episodes with what I call the founder’s freestyle. I say my episodes. I’m not the only host of the show. If you listen regularly, then you know that. Make sure you tune in. Matt Watson’s weekly show, Lauren Conaway has weekly show, and Andrew Morgans’s weekly show. Don’t forget Matt Watson and I and the true spirit of how Startup Hustle began. We do an episode together every week. Thank you so much for the support. If you have some time, come on over and join the Startup Hustle, chat on Facebook, go to Facebook and type in Startup Hustle, and you’ll find us. So lots of interesting stuff going on. And there. So as promised, the founders freestyle, and you’re a founder of a company. So really, as we enter this episode, How do you like what the best advice is? Or what stood out from this conversation that could help offend another founder the most with productivity? And in general?
Hadi Radwan 38:57
That’s a great question. So I think one thing is to make your inventory list and see what sort of activities you are taking on a daily basis, how much time they’re taking from you, and put them on a matrix? Impact versus effort, right? If they’ve taken a lot of effort, and they’re low impact and not producing revenue for the company, they’re not advancing the company, just eliminate them and get them out of your way. If they’re high impact and high effort, you probably need to plan and strategize and put some time on your calendar efficiently. And then have some people help you do that because you cannot do all the tasks on your own. And indefinitely, if something is low effort, low impact, probably it’s not a priority. For now, you can move it for a lengthy period of time. So I like to put an inventory of all the activities and then assign them different values. And I always say if you have enough energy, you can get things done. If you make some mistakes, you can still recover because you will be able to get back on your feet and try to figure out things.
Matt DeCoursey 40:09
Well said. Now, before I have my closing remarks, here is a quick reminder that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult, and Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And has the platform to help you manage that team. Go to FullScale.io to learn more. I think, for my closing remarks, I mean, I think the key to productivity is prioritization and getting the most valuable tasks done. Not letting them linger and delegating low-value tasks. You know, once again, if you’re interested in learning more, Balanced Me is $1.99. It’s a really cheap book on Amazon Kindle; it’s for sale for the least amount possible. And in that, I did a chart, I actually kind of in that book, to help you understand how to put a score and a value to some of the things that you’re doing. I do want to reiterate that activities that move you towards a goal and your personal, professional, or physical life are always held to high value. And there are certain things that you can do that will move you towards multiple goals. Those are the highest. I think you also got to know people that say that they’re like, oh, I don’t have enough time. You’re just spending it doing the wrong shit. You know, it’s so much easier to do something 10 minutes a day than it is to do it five hours once a month. And that’s a big mistake. I see a lot of people make it, you know. If you’re going to eat the elephant, you need to do it one bite at a time. So let’s start chewing on any big, worthwhile task that you want to do. Also, quit looking at it as one big thing. They are almost all just a huge series of smaller things that you need to do. So you can kind of reverse engineer your success and find all these little things. And sometimes, when the task doesn’t seem like we have to take a step forward, we have to climb a frickin’ mountain. So taking a step forward, it’s a lot easier to embrace and put your arms around, you know, with that. Man, I’m all fired up. So I’m gonna start. I’m gonna get back to work and catch up with you down the road. Hadi, thanks for joining me today.
Hadi Radwan 42:24
Thank you for having me. I hope the episode has some good actionable insights for you.
Matt DeCoursey 42:30
I do too. I hope someone stacked us with something else, so they found some more value. It’s a great way to listen to almost 1000 episodes of the show. See you all down the road.