In a fascinating chapter on meta-learning (i.e., learning about learning) in The Four-Hour Chef , Tim Ferriss talks about deconstructing skills we'd love to master. This is “where we turn things around and look at what the outliers are doing differently (and what they are not doing at all).”
It is through this kind of deconstruction that we can see what separates the successful from the rest of us. No, it is not where we discover his innate greatness. It's where we discover the daily habits, rituals, routines, and processes that successful people adopt to bolster their productivity and overall success.
By borrowing only a small number of these processes and routines for ourselves (especially those to avoid the drawbacks of pervasive technology), we might as well benefit from their results.
When Buffett's personal pilot was talking to the billionaire investor about career goals, Buffett took him through a simple exercise:
You now have two lists:one circled, the other uncirculated. However, do not misunderstand the exercise. These are not High priority lists vs. low priority lists.
Instead, according to Buffett:
This Strict Method for Prioritizing Goals How to Prioritize Tasks with the Eisenhower Matrix Productivity System How to Prioritize Tasks with the Eisenhower Matrix Productivity System Traditional to-do lists not working for you? Feeling overwhelmed or having trouble keeping your list under control? Try the Eisenhower matrix. This method of productivity can simplify complexity. Read More Likewise, we could help the rest of us spend our time more wisely, not only on long-term goals but also on a day-to-day basis.
Once you understand what your priorities are, tracking your progress is vitally important.
For Hemingway, his priority was to write . So each day, he tracked his production (how many words he had put on the page). This meant there were no illusions about his productivity:he knew exactly what he had accomplished that day. And once he had reached his daily goals, he could completely unplug until tomorrow..
Similarly, math teacher and author Cal Newport keeps track of the hours he spends on deep, hard work. Why self-discipline is the best productivity hack you need Why self-discipline is the best productivity hack you need deep work done? Is it motivation or is it discipline? If you can't focus and get your work done, here are some habit tips to help you accomplish more. Read more . Tim Ferriss also famously tracks his day so he can figure out which inputs are leading to the most valuable results (i.e. the 80/20 rule. Use the 80/20 time management rule to prioritize your tasks. Use the rule 80/20 Time Management Guide to Prioritize Your Tasks How do you maximize your time If you already prioritize, delegate, and still struggle to get everything done, you should try the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle (Read More). What gets measured gets managed, after all!
Do you want to do this yourself? Tracking in a simple spreadsheet works fine, but for some extra features, there are some great goal and habit tracking apps out there. 5 New Habit Apps That Really Work To Achieve Your Goals. 5 New Habit Apps That Really Work To Achieve Your Goals. Apps are some of the most popular productivity tools. Have you already tried these great new tools? Read more available.
If you think you get a lot of email, take a moment to imagine the inbox of Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post and Prosper Global , author and businesswoman.
Facing a burgeoning inbox like Huffington's, we'd get the best of most of us, but thanks to three simple rules, she manages to keep up while she still has a life.
Adhering to strict email rules is something Huffington takes seriously. So much so, in fact, that she developed a tool for when her employees are on vacation.. “The way it works is simple:while she's on vacation, people who email her receive a message. which informs them when she will return. And then the most important part, the tool deletes the email.”
As a billionaire investor and co-founder of Paypal and Palantir, Peter Thiel knows a thing or two about achieving great things in a short space of time.
A question he routinely asks is, “How can he achieve his 10-year plan in the next six months??” This may sound ridiculous, but it's an important insight into how someone like Thiel thinks about his own goals. This is how he manages to break convention and accomplish more in a year than most of us could accomplish in a decade..
The question does not mean that all goals can be achieved in 6 months. Rather, it is a thought experiment that forces us to think, “If I had a much tighter deadline, how could I do this?”
According to Tom Corley, author of Change Your Habits, Change Your Life , 76 percent of wealthy people exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. That includes Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Oprah Winfrey, and of course Richard Branson.
In a blog post, Branson explains:
The billionaire entrepreneur starts every day with some form of exercise. This helps him get into the right frame of mind for work, and also helps his body sleep better when it comes to night. He goes on to say, “There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that I have applied myself physically and mentally every day.”
Can't he afford an expensive gym membership and personal trainer? No problem. There are many apps that guide you through bodyweight workouts The best bodyweight workout apps to be anywhere The best bodyweight workout apps to be anywhere You don't need anything but your own body to tone up and strengthen all your muscles. Forget the expensive gym membership and try the best bodyweight workout apps to get fit. Read More You have no excuse!
Not too long ago, it became known that Elon Musk divides his day into five-minute slots. Bill Gates is also known for doing the same thing. Each day is complex and rigidly scheduled according to this structure to maximize the use of every passing minute.
For many super-productive people, even downtime and family time are scheduled into their calendar. As the adage goes, “If it's not on the calendar, it doesn't exist!”
Of course, five-minute time slots are too ambitious for most of us, but splitting the calendar Time Lock:The Secret Weapon for Better Focus Time Lock:The Secret Weapon for Better Focus Are you looking for a more efficient way to organize your work? -days? Try time lock. This time management tactic can help you stay on track while keeping distractions, procrastination, and unproductive multitasking at bay. Read More It helps us see each day in minutes, not hours.
Mark Cuban is an entrepreneur, investor, author, and philanthropist. Like everyone else mentioned so far, he manages to get more done in a day than most of us can do in a week. Yet he somehow manages to read about three hours each day!
Reading so much leads to what Cuba calls a “knowledge advantage”:
And Cuban is not an anomaly. Again, in Change your habits, change your life , 88 percent of millionaires surveyed said they read at least 30 minutes each day to further their education or self-improvement. That means successful people aren't just reading for entertainment. They are reading to learn .
If you want to become a more prolific reader, check out our guide on How To Read 50+ Books This Year How To Read 50+ Books This Year How To Read 50+ Books This Year If you're like the average American, I'm not reading enough . Reading more books can make you smarter and more successful. Let us show you how to read one book per week. Read more . And if you feel like you really don't have time, you can always read short, abridged versions of thousands of non-fiction books about Blinkist.
If you think you've spent much of your life related to technology, you may want to try a digital detox. This is where you get away from the distractions of modern technology, at least for a short while.
By doing so, you would be following a growing number of high-profile people who are craving a little more distance from their devices.
BBC Radio1 DJ Scott Mills avoids the phone from him after 8pm. Ed Sheeran realized that he was “seeing the world through my screen and not my eyes,” so I took an extended break away from his phone, email and social media. Steven Spielberg is famous for avoiding technology, which he believes hinders creativity. Kanye West told his followers, "I got rid of my phone so I could have air to create."
When taken together, more than 80 percent of the world-class performers interviewed on The Tim Ferriss Show podcast claim to use some form of mindfulness or meditation practice to lower stress and improve results.
For example, we're looking at world-famous record producer Rick Rubin, writer Maria Popova, world-class photographer Chase Jarvis, neuroscientist Sam Harris, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, businessman Kevin Rose, and many More.
This is not to say that each of these people is turning to some form of spirituality or mysticism. Rather, they are finding real, practical value in learning basic mindfulness and meditation techniques. Find Peace of Mind Through Mobile App Meditation Lessons Find Peace of Mind Through Mobile App Meditation Lessons Meditation is one of the healthiest habits you can start this year. It doesn't have to take more than a few minutes each day and you can do it anywhere. Read more . These are practices that can get you out of your immediate stress, calm your mind, and help you achieve focus for the rest of the day. I'm sure we can all get on board with that.
It goes without saying that there is no magic solution to success or increased productivity. Successful people themselves almost always attribute a large part of their accomplishments to figuring out how to focus on the right things, having perseverance, and constant learning.
This can be clearly seen in the habits, rituals and routines that have been highlighted in this article.
So why not adopt some of these routines as a micro habit? Want to create a life-altering habit? Try a Micro-Challenge Today Want to create a life-altering habit? Try a micro challenge Today's habits can be hard to change. The secret is in taking small steps. Make or break your habits with the help of these challenge-based apps. Read More
Which of these routines do you think could have the biggest effect on your own success this year?