You probably hear a lot about business hacks that can make you perform better, like making sure you get enough sleep or doing one task at a time (which is actually more efficient than multi-tasking).
These are good pieces of advice to follow.
Unfortunately, not all business advice has research backing it or is actually beneficial to you as an entrepreneur. It’s important to know what hacks and tips are worth ignoring, as adopting some practices may actually just be a waste of time and effort.
So, here are 10 useless business hacks you can toss right out the window!
1. Use a productivity app on your smartphone
As Whitson Gordon, editor-in-chief of How-To-Geek, says, “There is way too much out there to make sense of it all.” As a result, many people jump from one app to the next or choose one that doesn’t align with their working style or thinking process.
Solution: Simply establish a process that addresses your weaknesses, like the tendency to procrastinate.
2. Keep your email inbox clean
Have you ever dreaded looking at your email inbox after vacation or a long weekend? It can make you antsy. This may have you constantly attempting to keep your email inbox clean. That’s a distraction, actually. Researchers from the University of California at Irvine have found that workers perform better when cut off from email.
Solution: Check and respond to email only at set times each day.
3. Make the most of commute hours
Some entrepreneurs suggest using your commute to make calls, catch up on industry news, and listen to relevant podcasts. That may work for some, but the reality is that it can you more stressed out.
Solution: Practice mindfulness during your commute to relax yourself, and arrive at work refreshed.
4. Keep meetings to 15 minutes
You’ve certainly heard that meetings can become a huge waste of time, which has led some experts to suggest limiting meetings to 15 minutes. Doing this may actually rush some of the more important gatherings you have with your team or clients.
Solution: Meetings should be as long as necessary. Decide that for each particular meeting, instead of having a set policy.
5. Declutter your desk
While there are countless articles about the benefits of decluttering your work and personal spaces, many people work well surrounded by clutter. For instance, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin partially because his lab was messy and mold had contaminated a petri dish. Good things can come from disorder.
Solution: If a tidy environment doesn’t work for you, don’t feel forced to have one.
6. Take nootropics
Nootropics are growing in popularity among entrepreneurs because they’re said to boost brain function. Dave Asprey, a Silicon Valley investor, takes a cocktail of 15 nootropics per day to combat ‘brain fog’. The fact is that the science on nootropics is still foggy, and taking them could be dangerous.
Solution: Power your brain with the right diet instead. Think foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and walnuts.
7. Network as much as possible
It’s true: Knowing the right people can lead to much more success as an entrepreneur. But focusing too much on networking for the sake of networking leads to attending catering conferences when you’re in the tech business (at least they’ll be good food).
Solution: As David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom, business researchers and authors, say, “only attend the events that will make the most of your resources.”
8. Do the most urgent tasks first
If you’re the type that struggles to get going, doing a high-priority task first may actually be counterproductive. There is simply no one-size-fits-all approach to a to-do list.
Solution: Make sure your workflow suits the way you work best. If that means doing easy tasks in the morning, like responding to emails, so be it.
9. Get eight hours of straight sleep
It’s actually not natural. Before the Industrial Revolution, sleep was divided into two segments (a first and second sleep). The period in between was used for planning the day and conversing in the early morning. You actually may be missing out on hours of high productivity by not getting up and working when you wake up in the early morning.
Solution: Get seven to eight hours of sleep, but follow a sleep schedule that optimizes your efficiency. That could mean waking up at 4 a.m. like me.
10. Aim big or go home
Having big dreams is important. However, unattainable standards can weigh you down during the usual workday. You may think, “If I don’t do this well, I won’t be able to achieve that goal.”
Solution: One of Sheryl Sandberg’s favorite mottos is, “Done is better than perfect.” Finish projects, get feedback, and then make improvements. Things may turn out better than you imagined.
Working the way that works for you
Don’t feel forced to follow business tips and productivity hacks, especially the useless ones and those that may not suit you (which makes them useless). Nobody’s perfect and that’s okay. Build a system that matches your style and goals. By working the way that works for you, you’ll be in a much better position to have success as an entrepreneur.