I recently interviewed over 200 ultra-productive people such as seven billionaires, 13 Olympians, 20 straight-A pupils and over 200 powerful entrepreneurs. I requested a simple, open-ended query,”what’s your number one secret to productivity?” After assessing all of their answers, I researched their answers into 15 unique ideas.
Secret #1: They concentrate on minutes, maybe hours.
Average actors default to half-hour and hours blocks in their calendar. Highly successful individuals know that there are 1,440 minutes in each day and there’s nothing more precious than time. Money can be lost and made again, but time can never be reclaimed. As mythical Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller told me,”To this day, I maintain a schedule that’s almost” You need to learn your moments to master your own life.
Secret #2: They focus only on something.
Ultra productive men and women understand their Most Important Task (MIT) and work on it for one or two hours each morning,. Tom Ziglar, CEO of Ziglar Inc., shared,”Invest the initial part of your day working in your number one priority that will help build your business.” What task will have the largest impact on reaching your goal? What achievement will get you promoted on the job?
Secret #3: They don’t utilize to-do lists.
Throw your to-do list; instead schedule everything on your calendar. It turns out only 41% of things on to-do lists are actually done. And all those undone items lead to anxiety and insomnia due to the Zeigarnik effect. Highly productive people put everything in their calendar and then work and live from this calendar. “Use a calendar and program your entire day into 15-minute cubes. It appears to be a pain, however, this will set you up at the 95th percentile…”, advises the co-founder of The Artwork of Charm, Jordan Harbinger.
Secret #4: They overcome procrastination with time travel.
Your future self can’t be reliable. That is because we’re”time inconsistent.” We buy veggies now because we believe we will eat healthy salads all weekthen we throw green out rotting mush in the future. I bought P90x since I think I’m going to begin exercising vigorously and the box sits unopened one year after. What do you do to ensure your future self does the right thing? Anticipate how you will self-sabotage in the future, and think of a solution to defeat your future self.
Secret #5: They make it home for dinner.
I learned this by Intel’s Andy Grove,”There is more to be done, more that should be achieved, consistently more than could be done.” Highly successful people know what they appreciate in life. Yes, work, but also what they appreciate. There’s not any right answer, but for most, values include: family time, exercise, providing back. They knowingly allocate their 1,440 minutes per day to each place they value (i.e., they put it in their calendar) and they then stick to the program.
Secret #6: They use a laptop computer.
Richard Branson has said on more than one occasion that he would not have managed to build Virgin without a simple notebook, he takes with him wherever he goes. In 1 interview, Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis said,”Always take a notebook. Write down everything…That’s a million dollar lesson they don’t teach you in business school!” Ultra-productive people free their thoughts by writing down.
Secret #7: They process email only a few times every day.
Ultra-productive people don’t”assess” email through the day. They don’t respond to every vibration or ding to find out who’s intruded their inbox. Instead, like everything else, they time to process their email quickly and efficiently. For some that is only once a day, for me, it’s morning, noon and night.
Secret #8: They also prevent meetings no matter what.
When I asked Mark Cuban to give me his best productivity guidance, he immediately replied,”Never assume meetings unless somebody is writing a check.” Meetings are infamous time killers. They begin late, have the wrong people in themin their topics and run long. You ought to get out of meetings whenever you are able to hold fewer of these and if you operate a meeting, keep it short.
Secret #9: They say”no” to virtually everything.
Billionaire Warren Buffet once said,”The difference between successful people and very powerful people is that very successful people say’no more’ to virtually everything.” And James Altucher colorfully gave me this tip,”If something is not a”hell, YEAH! Then it is a”no!”
Bear in mind that only have 1,440 minutes in daily. Do not give them away readily.
Secret #10: They follow the 80/20 rule.
Called the Pareto Principle, in most instances 80% of results come from just 20 percent of activities. Ultra-productive men and women understand which actions drive the best results, and concentrate on those and ignore the remainder.
Secret #11: They delegate almost everything.
Ultra-productive individuals don’t ask,”How can I do this task?” Instead they ask,”How can this task get done” They take the”I” out of it as far as possible. Ultra-productive folks do not have control issues and they’re not micro-managers. Oftentimes good enough is, well, good .
Secret #12: They motif days of the week.
Highly successful people frequently theme days of this week to focus on important areas. For decades I have used”Mondays for Meetings” and make sure I am doing one check-ins with each direct report. My Friday afternoons are all themed about financials and overall administrative items that I want to clean up prior to the new week starts. I’ve previously written about Jack Dorsey’s work themes, which enable him to conduct two firms at once. Batch your work to maximize your efficiency and effectiveness.
Secret #13: They touch matters only once.
How often have you started a piece of regular mail–a bill perhaps–then put it down just to deal with it again later? How often do you see an email, and then shut it and leave it in your inbox to address later? Highly successful men and women attempt to”touch it ” If it requires less than five or ten minutes–whatever it is–they’ll deal with it right then and there. It reduces anxiety since it won’t be in the back of their mind, and is much more efficient because they won’t need to re-read or evaluate the product again in the future.
Secret #14: They exercise a constant morning routine.
My single biggest surprise while interviewing over 200 highly effective individuals was the amount of them desired to discuss their morning ritual with me. Hal Elrod, writer of, told me,”While many men and women focus on’doing’ longer to attain more, ” The Miracle Morning is all about focusing on’becoming’ more so you can start doing to achieve more” While I learned about a vast array of customs, many people I interviewed nurtured their own body in the morning with water, a wholesome breakfast and light exercise. They nurtured their mind with meditation or prayer, motivational reading, and journaling.
Secret #15: Energy is all about.
You can not make more minutes in the day, however, you can increase your energy which will increase your attention, focus, decision making, and overall productivity. Highly successful people don’t skip meals, sleep or breaks from the pursuit of longer, more, more. Instead, they view food as fuel, sleep as healing, and pulse and stop”work sprints”.
Tying It All Together
You may not be an entrepreneur, Olympian, or even millionaire–or even wish to be–but their own secrets just might allow you to get more done in less time, and enable you to quit feeling so overworked and overwhelmed.