A startup founder shares her 4 best tricks for saving time

Julie SygielCourtesy of Julie SygielJulie Sygiel, founder of Dear Kate.

Most startup founders and executives would probably argue that time is the most valuable resource in the world.

Julie Sygiel is the founder and chief creative officer of Dear Kate, a startup that makes high performance underwear and activewear for women. She is also a member of the Girl Scouts of the USA National Board of Directors and cofounded The Lady Project, a group that strives to connect, inspire, and showcase “amazing women doing awesome things.”

How does she have time to juggle all that’s on her plate?

The very busy entrepreneur, who graduated from Brown University in 2009 with a degree in chemical engineering, shared with Business Insider her top four unique tips for saving time and getting more done:

1. Wear a uniform.

'Almost everything in my closet is black, grey, or blue and every top goes with every bottom,' Sygiel says. 'The only question I ask myself when getting dressed is: 'Do I need fancy shoes today?' All of my sweaters and pants are versatile and can look casual or dressy, so my shoes are the key piece that determines the overall look. It's amazing how much quicker I get dressed in the morning and it allows me to save more creative decision-making energy for important choices at the office.'

2. Schedule a coffee meeting in the morning.

'It's much easier to hop out of bed in the morning if I know that I'm going to meet someone for coffee first thing,' she explains. 'I seem to be able to do my entire morning routine at least 20% faster if I have a place and time to be early. I also really enjoy the time spent catching up with a friend or business contact (often the two overlap) to start my day and then when I get to the office I'm fuelled with caffeine and some type of pastry so I can dive into work without worrying about getting butter on my keyboard while I'm typing and eating a bagel.'

3. Don't ever suggest lunch meetings.

'I love efficiency in transit so I like to schedule meetings on the way to work or on the way home,' Sygiel says. 'Once I'm at the office, I am settled into the day and like to work straight through until leaving.'

By not taking lunch meetings, she says she's never wasting time travelling to and from another location in the middle of the day and she never has to leave an important project to go to lunch. 'This also makes me feel more in control of my schedule so I'm not committing to meetings all over town in the middle of the day.'

4. Set a timer on your inbox.

'One of my favourite pieces of advice from David Allen's book, 'Getting Things Done,' is to set a two-minute timer when you're going through your inbox,' says Sygiel. 'I try to respond to every email within two minutes each (most of them actually require less time) and if I know an email will require a longer answer, I skip it.'

That way, when she's responding to the two or three more important items that require more thought, she's not worried about the long list of smaller items waiting in her inbox because they are already all answered, she says.

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