Founder Institute Image

With so many tasks to do at hand, entrepreneurs may often find themselves not having enough time to accomplish it all between a 24 hour time frame. So, how do succesful people manage to do it with the same amount of time? In this post, Maria Dykstra shares 5 lesser known tips on how one can become a more productive entrepreneur. 

 is an author, speaker, and technology entrepreneur. She spent 16+ years in Digital Marketing working with Fortune 100 and emerging brands at Microsoft and later as a co-founder of Tredigital, a growing digital agency. Maria also leads Seattle Founder Institute and serves as an advisor and board member for several startups and women leadership organizations. 

The article "Stop Making Excuses: 5 Simple Hacks To Increase Productivity" originally appeared on Maria's LinkedIn. It has been republished below with permission. 

I embarked on a study of successful people. People I met both personally and online. One theme stood out above all: 

Successful people never make excuses: Achieving greatness has less to do with having time, and everything to do with prioritizing. 

To achieve results you have to be laser focused on high priority tasks that will deliver top results in the shortest amount of time. Use every moment of your day in the most efficient way.

Here are 5 habits of successful individuals that can help you be more productive:


It is easy to react to urgent things, but we often neglect important tasks. Establishing repeatable routines ensures that we allocate time to focus on important tasks. I have a regular time in my calendar to to re-evaluate priorities, compete high important tasks and find time to continue learning. For example, I have a Priority Setting Hour at 6 am and a Learning Hour at 9pm every day. I slip every once in a while and sleep in in the morning instead of prioritizing my day and choose to go out instead of learning. However, having these processes programed in my calendar ensures that every time I slip, I can get back to the routine fast.


Not every process you try works. I spend time constantly evaluating if my approach works or not. If the routine is not working perfectly, I keep tweaking it. The idea is to turn routines into habits. Some habits are harder to form and some will not work for you. The learning hour may not be a good solution for you or you may be more productive learning in the mornings. Figuring out the most effective way of spending time should be one of the top priorities.


Technology can also make you more efficient. For example, I struggled with integrating time to write into my process. While at WriteTech2015 conference, I learned about Dragon Naturally speaking. This product converts speech into text. Now you can walk, run, exercise and write at the same time. Find automation technology that is right for you and make it a part of your daily routine.


Lisa Nichols said it best: "No" is a complete sentence". Saying "no" can literally change your life. We spend a lot of time dreading tasks that we agreed to do that had no impact to us. Saying "no" frees up a lot of mental energy too. Learning how to stop negative thinking and create a strong prioritization process will create a lot more extra time in your day. 


 Ever stayed up all night with thoughts and ideas swirling through your head? I am most creative between 2am and 4am -  Now I just have equipment to get it out of my head immediately instead of rehashing it in my head all night. I have Evernote installed and synched on all of my devices, therefore, I am alway just one step away from being able to capture my brilliant ideas. 


Click here for more articles by Maria Dykstra. 

Click here for other useful articles.

Related Insights

More insights
Founder Institute Image

How To Get Things Done

By Dustin Betz on Jul 09, 2020
Founder Institute Image

Create a Winning Startup Pitch Deck With This Easy-to-Use Template

By Joe Garza on Sep 07, 2019
Founder Institute Image

How Adeo Ressi is Helping Aspiring Entrepreneurs Around the World

By Joe Garza on Oct 29, 2018

Are you ready to apply to the world's largest pre-seed accelerator?

Apply to the Program