David Hieatt co-founded clothing brand Howies, inspirational talk series The Do Lectures and current venture Hiut Denim Co. with partner Clare Hieatt.
Here, he offers his top workplace productivity hacks. Whether you're looking to start your own business or just get to the end of your mountainous To Do pile, he has plenty of top-line advice to help you on your way...
1. Have short meetings
"Set a clock and make sure the meeting ends at that point, even if it’s 10 minutes! I think that’s one of the best things that we do at Hiut."
2. Have small meetings
"Meetings with too many people become a waste of time. You need to have small meetings with an action point at the end of them."
3. Have stand-up meetings
"When people sit down they get comfortable. When people stand up it’s more of a huddle than a meeting. People love meetings, they settle down, have a cup of tea, have a natter!"
4. Use technology
"We’re in a very small office so everyone hears everything. We’re experimenting with Slack to see if that will help reduce email. Emails are a right old bugger, they kind of kill you everyday."
5. Experiment with your time
"Maybe if you work a four-day week you get more done in than a five-day week. There are all sorts of experiments going on around the world looking into this."
6. Use the time you have
"There’s an interesting guy called Jason Fried and he runs a company called 37signals [now Basecamp]. He’s set the servers so that when you leave the company that day you can’t send any more emails. His idea is that you should be smart enough to do your work in 40 hours; if you can’t then you’re not smart enough."
7. Ditch the late nights
"The thing about working longer - the badge of honour of working late - doesn't make you that much more productive. When you’re super tired you’re not very creative. In a culture where you’re always on it can burn you out."
8. Have a Friday “momentum” day
"We have a time-management strategy called the M&Ms. One M is for maintenance – the stuff we have to do to keep the business going. Then we have another M for momentum - we’re trying to give 20% of our time to this. 'Momentum' accounts for projects that aren’t that defined - they’re a little bit crazy. They're the things that we should do but can’t always find the time for; e.g. making films. We’re trying to segment the week so that Friday is 'momentum day.'"
9. Say no to things
"You often want to do a lot but you get sucked into the day-to-day. You’re in a time warp everyday – everyone wants a bit of your time and you need to preserve it. Part of it is to say no to things."
10. Take time off
"I don’t work weekends. I don’t check my phone before 8am and I don’t check my phone after 9pm. The office know that I won’t respond, they know I’m terrible at email. I’m not that terrible at it but I tell everyone I am because people go 'there’s no point emailing him'!"
11. Play to your strengths
"At Hiut, we’re David versus Goliath. Our big rivals have been around for hundreds of years; they’ve got all sorts of resources that we don’t have. The one resource they don’t have is speed and agility. It takes six miles to change the direction of an ocean liner, and it takes 12 miles to stop it. I tell people in the company that we have this incredible strength and that is the fact that we’re agile and we can do speed – we’re a speedboat. It allows us to try new things, to experiment, to fail, to learn, to try again."