Work / Life balance is a growing concern among entrepreneurs, startup businesses, and even enterprises. It’s kind of a big deal. Most people think that just being able to turn the off switch when you’re done is the solution, but I’ve found that the problem is bigger than that. We’re all faced with an infinite number of tasks each day. And like a mindless Terminator we cross off each item and keep adding more as if we’re in a never ending chase for Sarah Connor. It’s demotivating and exhausting. But what can we do? The solution is a combination of automation, behavioral changes, and miscellaneous tweaks.

Work Off Hours

I’m not saying work more hours after your normal hours. I’m saying start your day an hour or two earlier, or a couple of hours later. I’ve found that having an extra two hours in the morning without the hustle and bustle helps accomplish SIGNIFICANTLY more work. Every person walking around is another distraction, and that’s BEFORE they start to ping you, tap you on the shoulder, and send you 508978976 emails before lunch.

Outsource Minor Tasks

Let me be clear. If you work a day job, you are expected to do your job. DO NOT do what this guy did and outsource your entire job. That being said, there isn’t anything wrong with spending some of your budget to outsource minor tasks. Things like list building, database management, powerpoint presentations, and design can all be outsourced on Upwork for low costs. I also recommend recording a video of a process that you want to outsource, so that freelancers can easily review the process. Outsourcing minor tasks can save you hours per week and cost you very little.

Automate As Many Processes as Possible

A perfect world is one where you can push a button and all your work is completed. You may not be able to do this yet, but there are ways to automate several tasks. My favorite automation examples can be found in lead generation. You can set up a contact form popup using SumoMe tools, have it directly import the new contact into an email list in Mailchimp, have the list go through an automated nurture campaign, and voila! You’ve just saved yourself hours of time finding contacts and sending them multiple emails until they’re sales ready. There’s also several fun things you can do with Scripts and IFTTT. Wild Apricot did a great writeup on using a mail merge and script to automate a mass mailing through Gmail here.

5-a-Days / Goal Setting

My next couple of productivity hacks involve goals. The first is using 5 per day task lists. A list of 5 things you absolutely must get done during the day. I’ve found this helps me keep myself from getting sidetracked and accomplish more through each day. You can either use a task list app like Remember the Milk, or a Hipster Journal (i.e Moleskin).


Essentialism is basically saying “no” to everything that keeps you from reaching your core goal. If my focus is to generate increased sales, then I focus solely on activities that help me reach that overarching goal. Everything else gets deprioritized or assigned to another team member based on their goal. You won’t be able to say “no” to everything, but it will help you remove several items from your immediate task queue.

Changing Behavior

Here’s where I really emphasize having what I call a Hipster Journal (Moleskin) or any old notebook. You’ll write down the things that cause 80% of your problems or stress, and begin to form a hypothesis. If your biggest problem is lack of time, then you try to understand why you don’t have much time. Maybe it’s because you’re spending too much of it making meals throughout the day. So, then maybe you find that the solution is meal prepping on the weekend, so you don’t have to cook during the week. The key thing here is to measure the change. using the example above, if your issue was lack of time, then you would see how much time you save throughout the week by meal prepping on the weekend. BOOM! Problem solved.

You can to a number of things to become more productive throughout the day. “Hacking Yourself” can mean automating processes, outsourcing, changing the way you do things or the way you think.