At just 32 years old, Michele Romanow is already on her fifth business venture. As the youngest venture capitalist on CBC’s Dragon’s Den, co-founder of Clearbanc, an online financial service, and a board member for both Freshii and Vail Resorts Management Co., Michele is used to getting things done.
How does she manage to do it in the same 24 hours that we all have? In a recent article with the Globe and Mail, she shared seven strategies that she follows on a daily basis to ensure maximum productivity, personally and in the workplace:
Begin with a bang
“I start with the hardest things first,” she says. “I think that’s always a good way to start your day.”
While Michele enjoys starting out with a home run, she doesn’t rule out completing simple requests as they crop up.
“If there are requests that take me two minutes or less to respond to, so a quick yes/no in an e-mail,” she says, “I try to do those as soon as I see them so I don’t let those linger in the back of my mind.”
Back to basics
Though she is hailed as a tech titan, Michele goes low-tech with her to-do lists and note-taking using paper and pens as her tools of choice.
“I find I can just be so much more present in a meeting, whether I’m interviewing someone or whether I’m talking,” she says, adding that she isn’t a big proponent of keeping everything on a smartphone.
Divide and conquer
Michele is a believer in the Pomodoro Technique, a time-management strategy developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. She divides her day into timed 25-minute segments, taking a quick break after each segment and a longer one after four segments.
By dividing complex tasks up like this, Michele says “it doesn’t seem unattainable to try and really get focused work done.”
She adds that if the work is really detailed or she is likely to become distracted, such as on the weekend, she will put her phone on airplane mode to improve her focus.
Make hasty decisions
Getting into “the zone” of intense concentration at work is difficult. Michele says that the average working person is interrupted 100 times a day by having to make 70 small decisions, so she came up with a rule to deal with that.
If the decision is reversible she makes it quickly and if it is irreversible, she takes her time over it. At the end of the day, there are very few irreversible decisions, she says.
“I think that was super helpful in getting me to be more productive, because I was spending less time thinking about the decisions and instead just making the decisions, which gave my team a ton more clarity,” she says.
Stand up for clarity
Michele views email as a tool to communicate exclusively outside a company, and completely inefficient for internal use. She prefers using team messaging apps such as Slack instead.
Even then, she says there is generally far too much internal messaging, which does nothing but distract employees from their more important tasks. So at Clearbanc, her team has a stand-up meeting at 10 o’clock each morning instead.
“The sole purpose of this is to align everyone and eliminate e-mails all day,” she says.
Build a ‘fun list’
As someone who travels regularly to San Francisco and New York City monthly for work, Ms. Romanow spends a lot of time in airports, where the ability to do focused work is diminished. Or she is in the back of a car on her way to a meeting.
Rather than waste this time scrolling through social media, she updates a continuing fun list of tasks that she can do at this time, such as buying things online for work or giving a colleague a call of congratulations for something.
“It doesn’t matter if I accidentally get interrupted,” she says. “I can keep getting through what I call the fun tasks when I have wasted-time gaps.”
Read the original article here.
Interested in learning more about Michele and what she can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].