Maintaining your productivity during the day while trudging through an inbox brimming with unanswered emails and navigating through your coworking space to grab a quick cup of coffee in the break room 鈥 without being ensnared by chatty coworkers 鈥 is a constant struggle. The secret to working more efficiently isn鈥檛 about working more or less, but working smarter. Here, 11 successful people share how to do just that, compliments of their productivity hacks. Get ready to get focused!


1. Visualize. 鈥淚 always envision myself crushing it at my job, working with pristine integrity and keeping a gold standard. I have always envisioned myself being the go-to girl, the leader in my space, the golden girl in the Wellness space. Make an effort to pinpoint your success and focus on YOU leading the pack. Clear the noise, don鈥檛 worry about what everyone else is doing. Focus on yourself and your work, and keep the focus on doing your very best, nothing less.鈥 鈥Candice Kumai, bestselling author of Clean Green Eats

2. Simplify. 鈥淏reak down an annual goal into daily activities. Then focus 100 percent of your energy on completing those activities.鈥 鈥Kevin Conroy Smith, Levo 100 honoree and founder of the Number Project

3. Unplug. 鈥淚 can鈥檛 begin to stress how important it was to limit digital distractions during my workday. The best thing I鈥檝e ever done to improve my productivity was to check my inbox only three times a day. This allows me to really concentrate on whatever task I have at hand. Before I started doing this, I would constantly get interrupted and it would take me a while to get back to really focusing on what I was working on, which was a killer for my productivity. Sometimes I鈥檒l catch myself cheating by checking my iPhone inbox, but putting it on silent helps stop the temptation!鈥 鈥Jude Al-Khalil, founder and CEO of BIKYNI

4. Catch those ZZZs. 鈥淢y #1 productivity hack is getting seven hours of sleep each night. I turn off the TV and put away all my devices so I can clear my brain and sleep well! To have an energy-full day, I prioritize getting a good night鈥檚 sleep so I wake up rested and ready to go face the day鈥檚 challenges. I also really appreciate the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute鈥檚 principles that lead to being your personal best at work and at home: be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aware to achieve your mission.鈥濃Janis Smith-Gomez, vice president, marketing for Ethicon, Inc.

5. Distance yourself. 鈥淐lose the office door. I have an open door policy all the time. My office is open to every one of the 110 people who work for me. In fact, it鈥檚 unusual not to find at least one of my employees paying me a visit. However, when the rubber meets the road and I have to concentrate and get something done quickly, my office door gets closed. It has become a sign to everyone that when it鈥檚 closed, I am full steam on a project so I generally don鈥檛 get interrupted. It鈥檚 amazing what you can accomplish in an uninterrupted hour 鈥 or even a half hour.鈥 鈥Linda Lightman, CEO and founder of Linda鈥檚 Stuff

6. Plan, organize, do. 鈥淚 have a three-step mantra when it comes to being productive:

  • Plan it.聽I plan each day the night before and add actual tasks in my calendar. This gives you the creative space to do the work you need to do in the time required and ensures that you are realistic about what can be achieved. I prioritize the most important tasks and always allow time for inspiration and play 鈥 being creative means you need time to be inspired, read an article, blog or just be on the pulse of what鈥檚 happening.
  • Organize it.聽I try to keep to Inbox Zero. I rule the mail, it does not rule me. I check it only three times 鈥 morning, afternoon and at the end of the day. Being ruthless with emails means spending more time on the next step and less on organizing and sifting through endless emails. Honestly, if it鈥檚 really important, experience has taught me they either come and get you or pick up the phone.
  • Do it.聽I get focused. I鈥檓 not distracted, I don鈥檛 check my email and I get in the zone to complete the tasks for the day. I often have post-it notes with each task on my desk and physically tick them off once a task is done. There is great satisfaction in actually completing something. Visually seeing these is also a great way to remain focused.鈥 鈥Resh Sidhu, creative director of Framestore鈥檚 VR Studio

7. Check-In times. 鈥淓mail is both a blessing and a curse 鈥 a curse in that it often becomes a seemingly endless task. Each day, I set a time to check my email and address as much as I can. But I always set an end time, and stick to it. Of course, email is a blessing in that it keeps me on track. And I sort my inbox by subject, to be as efficient as possible (though I try to keep this trick a secret!).鈥 鈥Julie Lee, managing director, Maxus Chicago

8. Calendars and story time. 鈥淭here are two actually鈥 the one at work: My to-dos go right into my Outlook calendar, where I can鈥檛 hide from them or transfer them to another piece of paper. The reminders keep me honest and mindful and the lack of scribbled, unreadable lists cluttering my desk is a nice plus. The one at home: Reading to my kids is the blissful 30 to 45 minutes of my day that鈥檚 never shattered or shared with anyone else, and puts me in a right zen mood.鈥 鈥Christine Stack, partner at Liberty Blue

9. Google Hangouts. 鈥淲hile this may seem counter-intuitive as a productivity hack, I鈥檓 in a creative business, so talking through ideas needs the nuance of conversation and ideally seeing each other鈥檚 face. Hangouts helps our teams get together and have meaningful discussions rather than spinning in the nuance of how we phrased something in an email.鈥 鈥Jane Delworth, managing director at mono

10. Meditation. 鈥淗eadspace: 20 minutes of meditation a day, every day makes all the difference to my productivity.鈥 鈥Charlotte Smith, partner at Liberty Blue

11. Podcasts. 鈥淢y favorite podcast is Ted Radio Hour. I love the diversity of interviews and content matter, which always expands my thinking in new and surprising ways.鈥 鈥Olivia Fay, CEO and creative director of Rallier

What is your favorite method for taking your productivity to the next level? Share your tip with us on Twitter @BritandCo!

This post was originally published on Levo League by Kristen Lauletti.

(Photo via Getty)