People at the top of their game employ several strategies to help them stay this way, from Tom Ford to Elon Musk, there’s a myriad of interesting ways to maximize your time and productivity and here are some of the most interesting ones we have found from successful entrepreneurs.
A popular phrase which comes up when asked how they start their working
day is to begin by “eating the frog” whilst this may sound strange it essentially means to start your working day with the most unpalatable task. The reasoning being that once this is out of the way, the rest of the day holds more things to look forward to, or tasks you can tackle with ease. For Tom Ford this means checking his emails – he estimates he receives 100 per day so tackling this first thing allows him to determine which items need his attention and sets his focus for the day. By contrast the end of the day is for reviewing your list and then making a new one of your goals for the next day so you are constantly focused on what’s to come and able to anticipate any difficulties allowing you to mitigate stress or scheduling clashes.
Many successful entrepreneurs value prioritization, whether in their personal or professional life. Elon Musk and Bill Gates famously work in 5 minute chunks their reasoning being that they have a finite number of hours they can work each week and taking this approach allows them to see what is essential and when. While Musk eats his lunch in 5 minutes during meetings, Gates famously also schedules “Think Weeks” to allow him to break free of routine and focus on big picture thinking. The moral of the story? Those 5 minute chunks are great for focus and making sure you get things done but if you need real strategic thought that’s something to make space for too. Don’t forget to schedule in gym and meditation time too, not all of us need Ford’s 5am bath to start our day right but five minutes of meditation can give you a clear and focused mindset for the day.
As well as smart scheduling, many entrepreneurs enjoy Cal Newport’s theories on “Deep Work” This is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. With time being your most valuable resource, being able to concentrate and produce work with the values of craftsmanship. Here’s a great article which has 5 Practices from Cal Newport that will change your life so you can see if they work for you. There’s also a huge rise in mindfulness practice and yoga to allow busy people to create mental space to observe and tackle problems.
The phrase no man is an island has never been truer, surrounding yourself with smart, curious people is one of the best ways to get the
feedback needed to shift your thinking and help you scale your product or concept. In startup stages you may be working in isolation so look to join a coworking space to meet like minded people and be sure to call on friends and family where you need support too.
One of the standout things in all successful entrepreneurs is that they schedule time for pleasure too. From morning baths or meditation time to workouts or time with family all of these things are vital to ensure you enjoy a happy and productive life. If you’re looking to read more personal journeys, Medium has an excellent network of entrepreneurs all generously sharing tips daily.