Boss Lady

Infographic: Essential productivity tips from successful women


Getting to the top is never easy and takes a lot of work if you don’t know all the right people. That’s why when you get the chance to learn from women who have been there and done it successfully, it’s best to listen and learn. One of the most important aspects of a successful person is their ability to be productive so that they aren’t wasting their time without achieving anything.

But there’s more to productivity than saying to yourself ‘I will now be productive’ and if you are an entrepreneur-in-the-making, understanding how to maximize your use of time could be the difference between making it big or ending up as someone with a great idea that never made work. So here are the productivity tips of some of the most successful women of our times:

Shan-Lyn Ma – Co-founder of Zola

“It’s just as important to set aside time for yourself as it is to set aside time to meet with other people”

Online wedding registry and planner Zola has been going since 2013 having been founded by Shan-Lyn Ma (pictured above) and Nobu Nakaguchi and has gone from strength to strength. It’s been tipped to become a unicorn as its value races towards the $1bn mark, so clearly Shan-Lyn Ma has been taking her own advice. Blocking off time in your schedule to avoid distractions is essential for productivity because it gives you the space to think more deeply rather than constantly reacting to whatever issue someone is raising with you.

Katia Beauchamp – Co-founder of Birchbox

“I insist that people in the company indicate when they need a response in all emails. It makes prioritization so much faster.”

Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna founded Birchbox in 2010 as a monthly subscription service selling make-up and beauty products. Barna stepped away from the business in 2015 but Beauchamp remains CEO and is also involved with the Female Founder Collective to help future female founders get their start-ups started. Her advice ensures that everyone in the business – Birchbox now has over 300 employees – is clear about response times so they can effectively prioritize and focus on the projects that need the most immediate attention instead of being distracted.

Alexa von Tobel – Founder of LearnVest

“The more tasks that are low excitement, like ordering paper towels, that can be taken off my plate and fully automated, the better. I then have the energy and the brain power for things that are real decisions I need to make.”

Alexa von Tobel founded LearnVest while on a leave of absence from Harvard Business School in 2009, having identified a gap in the market for helping people learn how to manage their personal finances. It has been acclaimed by the likes of Forbes, Time, Business Insider and TechCrunch as well as earning many millions in investment. An a tech entrepreneur it’s no surprise that von Tobel is a fan of automation to cut down on the time wasted on mundane tasks, particularly as it can take a toll on the time and energy available to make the really important decisions.

Jennifer Hyman – Co-founder of Rent the Runway

“Don’t spend your day managing to inbox zero. Pick one to two problems every day that are important for your to dig into strategically and allot real time to them by cutting off your access to email, text and social media notifications that seduce all of us out of the zone.”

Rent the Runway was founded in 2009 by Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss to offer women the chance to rent designer dresses and accessories and has become so successful that it’s been able to open physical retail stores in cities across America. As Hyman says, this kind of achievement isn’t easy if you’re allowing yourself to be constantly distracted by emails, texts and social media. The average person checks their emails 74 times and receives 46 notifications a day, all of which affect your productivity, so when you need to focus, why not follow Hyman’s advice and block out the distractions?

Christine Barberich – Co-founder of Refinery29

“If there’s a particularly gnarly task I’m dreading doing – and usually the reason why I’m dreading is because I have fear about confronting it – I try to determine a fun reward that will help motivate me through it.”

Having co-founded Refinery29 as a fashion-focused city guide to New York in 2005, Barberich has helped it grow and spread around the world with an audience of over 500 million people and over 450 staff based in offices in America, Germany and the UK. You don’t achieve that kind of reach if you shy away from difficult (or ‘gnarly) tasks, which is why Barberich doesn’t let that fear affect her productivity, instead rewarding herself after finishing them. Research has shown that 52% of people strongly agreed that rewards increase their motivation, so start thinking up some rewards that you can offer yourself the next time to need help getting started.

These tips have helped each of these powerful women achieve their goals and set up hugely successful companies, so why not see how you can incorporate them into your daily life as you take your own big steps towards success?

About Luke Doyle'

Luke Doyle writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios and is based in Manchester, UK. When not sharing content, Luke's passions include travelling and photography.

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