Nobody knows productivity like…well…the productive. Would you agree? Here’s the thing – the richest people in the world who have created their own wealth have learned a thing or two about what it takes to make the most of their time.
If you’re anything like me, I sometimes struggle with staying on-task and getting as much done as I want to. That’s why I decided to do a little digging into the Productivity Hacks of some of the wealthiest in the world. I want to know their secrets!
Wanna know what I found?
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett was at one time THE wealthiest man alive, so you can bet that if he has something to say about productivity, I’m going to listen! After a little bit of searching, I came across this story on Live Your Legend about him that was supposedly told by one of his pilots. The author calls it a “5-Step Process for Prioritizing True Success.”
Basically, he says that Warren told him to jot down 25 things he wanted to accomplish that he wasn’t currently doing. He then told him to circle the five most important and create a plan for completing each of them. He told him to focus on those five and avoid the other 20 on his list at all costs.
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins is one of the most inspiring individuals on the planet as far as I’m concerned. He often talks about his days spent as a janitor just a short time before he became one of the most successful motivational gurus of all time.
His top 10 productivity hacks are:
- Begin each day with a plan.
- Keep your purpose in mind.
- Prioritize your actions.
- Schedule blocks of time devoted to those priorities.
- Set deadlines.
- Constantly reassess habits that aren’t producing results.
- Forget the past.
- Measure your progress and celebrate small victories.
- Spend 10% of your time on the problem and 90% on the solution.
- Get a clear vision and imagine yourself having accomplished it.
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Steven Covey
Steven Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People still surfaces on the bestseller lists frequently, and is perhaps the most well-known and highly respected time-management books of all time.
He came up with the Time Management Matrix in which there are four quadrants:
- Urgent & Important
- Not Urgent & Important
- Urgent & Not Important
- Not Urgent & Not Important
It’s designed to help you keep your priorities in front of you and help you determine which ones are critical and which can be pushed to the bottom.
In a nutshell, the seven habits are:
- Be proactive.
- Begin with the end in mind.
- Put first things first.
- Think win-win.
- Seek first to understand, then be understood.
- Sharpen the saw.
“It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Bill Gates
In this article in Inc. Magazine, the author discusses Bill Gates’ insane ability to hyper-focus, or “deep work.” She cites a story where he was said to often fall asleep at his terminal while working on some code. The point is that multi-tasking robs your productivity.
If you want to be like Bill Gates, set aside blocks of time to focus on one single task without distraction.
“I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done. Innovation is saying no to a thousand things.” Steve Jobs
As stated by Smart Business Trends, “Jobs did not believe in multitasking at all, and the biggest proof of this is Apple.”
Steve Jobs had insane focus. He and Bill Gates had this in common, but if you’ll take a look at most of the successful people of our time, this is a common thread. Focus on the “one thing.” Avoid distractions. Say no to everything else. This could be the number one key to success!
“Being human means you will make mistakes. And you will make mistakes, because failure is God’s way of moving you in another direction.” Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey has attained HUGE success. I don’t think there’s any arguing that fact. But the cool thing about Oprah is that she faces some of the same struggles we ordinary people do – like procrastination.
In this article by Fast Company, the author talks about Oprah’s tendency to procrastinate. She says that to beat procrastination, she gives herself deadlines, and when she doesn’t meet them, she asks herself, “What’s the worst that’s going to happen here, and why do I fear the confrontation?”
“I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.” Mark Zuckerberg
When I think of success, I automatically think of the Billionaire Facebook mogul, Mark Zuckerberg. He tackles the easiest things of his day first so that he feels he’s made progress. This tactic works better for me than trying to do the most daunting things first because it helps me build momentum. Some productivity gurus disagree and say the opposite is true, but hey, who are they to argue with Zuckerberg?
“If you’re interested in ‘balancing’ work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable.” Donald Trump
Love him or hate him, the Donald has managed to amass a fortune and become the president of an entire country. To what does he attribute his productivity? He gets up early!
According to Early to Rise, Donald Trump rises at 5:30 a.m. without fail, reads six newspapers, and works until dinner. Those few extra hours a day give him an advantage.
“I dream for a living.” Steven Spielberg
Super-successful film director, Steven Spielberg is said to stay productive by using his downtime wisely. Whenever he has time to spare, he spends it working on his next project. Just think how much you could get done if you worked on your project every time you were waiting in line, taking a lunch break, or travelling! We all have the same 24 hours in a day, as they say, so make the most of yours.
“Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone else in the world. Love what you do or don’t do it.” Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban has invested in hundreds of companies, stars in the hit TV series Shark Tank, owns a basketball franchise and manages to spend time with his wife and three young kids. How does he do it?
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, he attributes his ability to “get stuff done” to handling most of his correspondence by email. He says he rarely takes meetings or phone calls unless they are absolutely necessary, and he focuses first on the “fires he has to put out.”
“My attitude has always been, if you fall flat on your face, at least you’re moving forward. All you have to do is get back up and try again.” Richard Branson
Billionaire Philanthropist, Richard Branson, swears by starting his day out with exercise to supercharge his energy and productivity. It also improves memory, reduces stress and boosts creativity.
What did you learn?
If you follow any of the success gurus, you will find that they all have their own productivity hacks and habits. I’ve yet to find one who does not, in some way, preach the value of focusing on one thing at a time and saying no to any and all distractions, but you’re not alone if you struggle with this.
Entrepreneurial types like us tend to have a hundred ideas and sometimes have trouble sticking with just one. If you’re anything like me, you might have five things going at a time, but it may be time for us both to decide what’s important and build on that before moving on to the next big thing.
What’s your biggest productivity struggle?
This is a guest post from Cheri Read, a single mom, entrepreneur and freelance writer for hire. You can find out more about her or her services over at cheriread.com.