Once upon a time, the world’s captains of industry gritted it out on single projects and companies, pouring their life’s work into creating thriving, cash-rich businesses that were simply (or seemingly) too big to fail. Fast-forward to the Internet Age, and that paradigm is most definitely a thing of the past. Digital powerhouses can spring up over night, and diversification of interests and products is key to long term success.
And for some of the world’s most driven and successful people, one industry-defining company simply isn’t enough. Jack Dorsey famously serves double-duty as CEO of both Twitter and Square. Elon Musk, as close to a maverick, super villain-esque billionaire/philanthropist as we have today, is CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX; both these companies are undoubtedly at the front of their respective industries in innovation, financing, and promise.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur, you may be balancing your fledgling endeavor with a full-time job. Or you may be balancing multiple rolls in the same company, or even heading up a few different businesses at once. Whatever your multitasking needs, try these time-honored (and pro-tested) tips to keep all your responsibilities in line.
1. Compartmentalize Your Time.
Avelist founder Jody Porowski wrote about her experiences balancing a full-time job with a new startup. A big takeaway? “Find your rhythm.” Figuring out the time management strategy that works for you is step number one, but step number two is just as important and sometimes more difficult: sticking to it.
Compartmentalizing the same way every day is a great, effective way to make sure you’re devoting time across the board without feeling overwhelmed all at once. A few hours in the morning for this leaves the afternoon for that, spend a week or two playing around and seeing what feels best productivity-wise, then ruthlessly compartmentalize from there.
And Jack Dorsey has been doing this successfully since 2011, splitting (roughly) equal time in his day for Twitter and Square. He even travels between offices, creating a physical separation as well as mental when completing and delegatings tasks at his two behemoth companies.
2. Perfect a System for Triage.
Elon Musk famously juggles big challenges every day, and between two high-speed tech companies, he’s got a lot of fires to put out.
Practicing triage means prioritizing what needs to get done when it needs to get done. And while separation is key, it doesn’t mean emergencies won’t arise that require to you break down those barriers. Set up boundaries with colleagues or employees ahead of time: What is important or pressing enough to demand my immediate attention, all other factors be damned, and what channel is best for these notifications?
Clear boundaries up front will avoid gray areas that can sap productivity in the middle of a busy day; make sure the emergencies that demand immediate attention are just that.
3. Create Separate To-Do Lists.
Let’s take it back to #1 in this article: compartmentalizing can prevent a sense of being overwhelmed. Similarly, breaking up your to-do lists will help keep that page of tasks from seeming insurmountable. Stepping into your other role, either physically or mentally? Switch pages and see your to-do list with clear, unclouded eyes. It’s a great way to keep focus straight and anxiety low.
4. Find Your Brain Routine.
For some people, it’s coffee at a certain time. For others, it’s a productivity stack. We’re obviously big fans of nootropics, supplements designed to help increase focus, boost mental energy, help memory recall, and provide cognitive endurance, and they’ve made their way into our daily routines in varying amounts. That’s why we’ve reviewed dozens upon dozens of the most popular ones.
Everyone reacts to supplements differently, and it may take some trial to figure out the stack that works best for you. We suggest starting slow and simple and keeping in mind that individual tolerance may vary, and a little bit can go a long way toward helping you power through a mentally challenging day!
5. Network In Your Down Time.
Have a free moment? Think about how you can use it to connect with new contacts or rekindle old relationships. Cab rides or coffee breaks are great for this. And if you need a good rule of thumb for increased, effective networking, just remember to never eat a meal alone (at least, when it can be avoided within reason). Meal time is prime time for catching up and seeing where synergy lies across personal experience and business.
6. Prioritize Sleep.
Seriously, don’t skimp on the sleep. No one wants a sleepy entrepreneur pushing for energy or brainpower they just don’t have. And if a racing mind is still keeping you up at night, consider taking some calming magnesium, it’s worked wonders for a few of our testers.