8 min read

23 productivity hacks from growth professionals of Spotify, Miro, Notion, and More

23 productivity hacks from growth professionals of Spotify, Miro, Notion, and More

Whether you are a team member or a company CEO, staying productive during working hours while juggling with tons of distractions is a challenging task. Everyone is trying to identify ways to remain productive and efficient at work.

The Epic Growth team has found ways to help leading product growth professionals stay productive and not burn out at work. Here are some amazing tips from the experts to stay on top of your work during working hours. You can start using them today!

But before you dive into it, don't forget to grab a FREE ticket to Epic Growth Summit, which will take place in less than 2 weeks!

Who participated in the research:

  1. Kinga Asbóth, Product Manager at Spotify
  2. Gabor Kiss, Head of Growth Analytics at Miro
  3. Alexandra Lung, CPO at Signaturit
  4. David Apple, former Head of Customer Success at Notion
  5. Ilya Tregubov, Director of Product Operations PandaDoc
  6. Viktoria Kharlamova, Growth Product Manager Miro
  7. Patrick Layer, Head of Growth at Backbase, Founder of Layer & Company
  8. Alex Pisarevsky, founder of Epic Growth

Calendar and planning

How to plan a schedule and keep calendars to keep up with everything you do at work.

Photo by Austin Distel / Unsplash

Ilya Tregubov, Director of Product Operations PandaDoc

I make weekly plans every Monday. The plans consist of a list of 3-5 goals with a mandatory explanation of the expected result in brackets.

For instance:

Complete the creation of a PMM process [the process is presented at the leadership meeting, average score greater than 4.5 / 5]

At the end of the week, I check the 'goals' status, whether I managed to do them completely / partially / absolutely nothing, and comment on the result. By describing the end result, we teach ourselves to be more specific in achieving goals.

Alexandra Lung, CPO at Signaturit:

I sometimes have back-to-back meetings all day. So in order to make sure I have a moment to breathe between calls and grab a glass of water, I use the Google calendar setting to schedule 'short meetings': 25 minutes instead of 30 minutes and 50 minutes instead of 1 hour.

Another meeting hack is that I schedule shorter meetings with a clear focus. I realized that when we have more time, we will fill in that time, and not always in the most effective way. For example, I used to have one hour 1:1s with my team. I've switched to 30 minutes, and I make sure that I can book that slot later in the week if we need more time on a specific topic.

David Apple, former Head of Customer Success at Notion:

Focus: I pick no more than 2-3 things from my to-do list that I will accomplish on any given day, and I actually get them done.‌‌

System: I manage my to-do list in a structured, consistent way in Notion.‌‌

Block time: For anything that will take more than 30 minutes, I actively block time in my calendar to get it done. I turn Slack and phone off during those blocks of time, and I don't look at my emails.

Gabor Kiss, Head of Growth Analytics at Miro:

Things as to-do app with a few filters/areas. Everything I do goes there. For example, when I have a task like texting someone back, I make it very simple, and I just add it to my to-do app.

For every task which requires my input, such as docs reviews, experiments, OKR planning, presentation prep, and hiring, I add them to a to-do list, and I decide on the day/week basis what I will pick up. Even if Miro scales insanely fast, I can still be on top of all the craziness by having a well-structured to-do system.

Another cool thing is journaling in Bear. It is markdown-based, so it is easy to migrate in case a journaling app goes south.

Patrick Layer, Head of Growth at Backbase, Founder of Layer & Company:

The best thing I can recommend is an offline and online combination. I use notes from Apple together with a standard A5 physical Notebook that I always carry with me. Every day in the morning (as well as at the beginning of the week), I write down my major to-do items on a sheet of paper (or into the Notebook). Most important: the item has to be actionable and is sorted based on priority (OKRs) or delivery by a day.

Messengers and communication

How to stay on top of all the chats, dialogs, emails, and optimize communication?

Slack message with team communicating and collaborating in app on desktop and mobile.
Photo by Austin Distel / Unsplash

Viktoria Kharlamova, Growth Product Manager Miro:

Slack reminders are my favorite feature. To avoid drowning in the ocean of messages, I always prioritize them and set myself a reminder to ping me in 1 hour, tomorrow or next week, depending on the importance and urgency.

Grammarly. At Miro, 90% of our communication is in English, so Grammarly is a must-have. A program that detects all the little mistakes such as articles, prepositions, and other grammatical errors anywhere you write text: docks, Confluence, Slack, etc. It also allows you to check large blocks of text, such as strategy documents and experiment results.

Alexandra Lung, CPO at Signaturit:

One of my favorite productivity tools is workshops. Instead of going for conversations that go all over the place, I imagine workshops where we set a point A as the context of where we are today and a point B as an objective of what we want to achieve at the end of the session. As a facilitator, I make sure I invite and involve everyone in the activity and effectively converge to a decision.

Alex Pisarevsky, founder of Epic Growth:

A great rule of thumb: do not pick up the phone for the first 2 hours after sleep.

Scheduled messages in Slack: write something today, send it tomorrow. In this way, you 'don't get a response right away, consequently leading to less distraction

Another cool app is Paste — a clipboard manager for Mac and iOS. You can access it any time and pick up a clipboard item that you haven't saved somewhere else but still want to use.

Patrick Layer, Head of Growth at Backbase, Founder of Layer & Company:

No meetings in the morning (My post-productive time). I mostly schedule recurring syncs for the afternoon between 1-4 pm. Also, try to move away from back-to-back "briefing" meetings, and focus on email for short updates.

I also discovered walking meetings as super helpful in the last couple of months. Call each other on the phone and walk both outsides for a walk — this works wonders! Try to keep 1-2 days free of meetings (Mostly Tuesday and Friday for me).

Best Time App —  Self-control for Mac is a lifesaver. This app blocks your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. No more 9Gag, Reddit, Linkedin, or anything else.

Reflection and thinking

The organization of thoughts and opinions is essential to remaining productive and efficient in the workplace. How to organize thoughts and ideas? Here is what the experts say.

Photo by Katerina Jerabkova / Unsplash

Alex Pisarevsky, founder of Epic Growth:

Day one App is a wonderful app to organize your thoughts. It is a fantastic feature to see what you wrote a year ago on that day. So I moved my diary there. It is just $35 per year, and it is worth each cent -the App is very convenient and user-friendly.

Ilya Tregubov, Director of Product Operations PandaDoc:

Google forms for reflection. One of the simplest reflection tools is custom Google Forms. By the way, on iOS it is very convenient to place links to these forms directly on the main screen.

For example, every morning I run the form "reflection in the morning" in which there are several questions:

1) How easily did I wake up?

2) How many hours did I sleep?

3) Mood level

4) Energy level

5) Focus level

I regularly check my mood, energy, and focus to understand how certain events in my life, long-term and short-term, affect me.

The main tool for my productivity is Things 3. There is an inbox for any thoughts, backlogs for personal and work projects, weekly plans, and regular tasks-reminders.

I also love using Things to gratify myself and make life easier in the future. For example, suppose I need to launch an eNPS questionnaire within the company in the middle of the next quarter. In that case, I will make a copy of the questionnaire in advance, correct the description for the particular month, create a Things-task with an inscription from the past and add a link to the finished questionnaire and a short description inside. It takes a couple of minutes. Still, in a few months, a task that is completely ready for launch will pop up, and it will make me smile.

Kinga Asbóth, Product Manager at Spotify:

Something that I've found really useful in a distributed-first world is to set up an "operating manual".

This is a description of how you prefer to work, what are the things that motivate you, how do you prefer receiving information and feedback. It is helpful for your stakeholders and team to get to know you, especially now that in-person and casual chats are harder or not happening at all.

It's also equally important that you know these things about yourself, that you are transparent and sincere about your communication and behavior at work, and can work towards closing the gaps where needed. This manual can be a doc or an infographic that you can link to your slack profile/internal emails, etc.

Alex Pisarevsky, founder of Epic Growth:

Day one App. It рhas a super cool feature to see what you wrote a year ago on that day. It is just $35 per year and it is worth each cent. The app is really handy.

Organizing content

When there is a lot of content and you are pressed for time to study them, you can follow these steps to manage readings.

Scrabble tiles and smartphone. 
More awesome freebies here: https://firmbee.com/freebiesun
Photo by Firmbee.com / Unsplash

Viktoria Kharlamova, Growth Product Manager Miro:

Pocket is a web service for saving articles and videos from the Internet to study them later. There is an easy-to-use extension for Google Chrome and Safari: one click and an article is in your Pocket.

I save there all the useful articles and resources that I do not have time to read during the week, and then I allocate 1.5-2 hours every Saturday to go through them. The main thing is to regularly set some time to study those materials and not turn your Pocket into a dump!

Work-life balance

The right way to rest and recharge energy.

Photo by Yasmina H / Unsplash

Alexandra Lung, CPO at Signaturit:

As I am working remotely most of the time, I make sure I schedule lunch outside at least twice a week and I also search for co-working cafes where I can work from time to time. It's important for me to change the setting and get some breaks outside of the house. When I don't have enough time to have lunch outside of the house, I try to take at least a few minutes doing something non-work-related during the lunch break, like playing piano for a few minutes for example.

Ilya Tregubov, Director of Product Operations PandaDoc:

"Get up and go out." A simple life hack that I began to apply for myself in the morning. For me, it means that in the morning, after waking up, I get up, put on my sports uniform, and go outside, only just after washing my face. First, walk for some time, and then I move on to jogging. Since the whole ritual is packed in just two words, it is much easier to explain to yourself what to do in the morning.

Thank you for reading the article, we hope you could find something that works for you!

Some experts that shared their tips and tricks are going to speak at Epic Growth SUMMIT. Get your FREE ticket and join this must-attend event for growth professionals from the comfort of your home.

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