06 Dec 5 Best Productivity Hacks from the World’s Most Successful CEOs
If a genie could grant me three wishes, I’d ask him to take me inside the heads of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. But since this isn’t Aladdin, and I don’t exactly have a magic lamp, I’m going to tell you about 5 of the most awesome productivity principles that I learned from the greatest minds of my generation.
1. The 90-minute rule
People have this skewed view that the more time we work, the more things we get done. While this is true in quantity, this is not entirely effective when it comes to quality. If you want people to submit their best work, you have to give them a break! President of Energy Projects Tony Schwartz agrees with this philosophy by applying the 90-minute break rule in his routine.
According to The Muse, human bodies can only focus for a maximum of 90-minute intervals in a day. Your brain can only process a limited amount of information at one time. If you go beyond the required capacity, then that’s when you get stressed. And when people start to worry, they actually waste more time thinking about the problem than actually coming up with a solution. So take a bit of advice from Kitkat and “Have a break!”
2. That One Question
Steve Jobs, late Apple CEO, was one of the most sought out people when it came to business advice. In a speech he delivered in Stanford University’s commencement exercise, he shared a philosophy that struck every person in the field that day.
When Steve was struck with the possibility of death, he implemented a unique morning routine. Every day, he would ask himself, “If this were my last day on earth, would I want to do what I’m about to do now?” You see, you might mistake Steve’s concept for the famous YOLO expression. However, if you reflect deeply on what Steve meant to say that day, you’ll get a pumped up productivity mindset that will make one work as if it were their last. This is especially helpful for those who are easily frustrated, depressed or unmotivated.
3. Keep it simple, stupid!
Probably one of the most devoted and looked up to CEOs of this era is Mark Zuckerberg, the famous founder of social media giant Facebook. So how exactly does Mark keep it simple? By starting with the smallest details of his life. You’ll notice that he’ll wear the same gray t-shirt or hoodie for work, a lighter version of Steve Jobs’ famous black turtleneck sweater outfit. According to Zuckerberg, maintaining a uniform helps him save more time by not having to think about what to wear each day.
In fact, this productivity tip from Mark can be applied to all areas of our life. The less things you have going on, the more you can actually focus on the most important tasks. If you don’t want a complicated life, then stop buying unnecessary things. You don’t only get to save money, but you’ll also get to increase income as well.
4. Don’t be a slave to your own email
Back in 2006, Bill Gates shared a post about his decision to go paperless. He wanted everything on his email, from the unimportant ones to the high priority threads. No one has a better email hack than this man right here. He unselfishly shared to us his all-time email solution – a large three monitor display. Bill wasn’t just a businessman back then, he was also a social activist and a well-known philanthropist, so one can only imagine the number of emails he receives each day.
Bill separated his email into three categories, displayed in three extra large screens. One was for his incoming emails, the second was for whatever he was working on, and the third displays his average desktop. This system allowed Bill to multitask as well as respond to each email with a well-deserved response.
5. The Multitasking Myth
Yes, we’ve all read those productivity tips that keep on telling us to stop multitasking, but it can’t be denied that this is one of the most required skills in doing business. Those who said otherwise either suck at multitasking or don’t know the proper way to do so. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, Tesla Motors and chairman of SolarCity, surprised professionals with his one-of-a-kind work ethic. While it’s seldom that you get to see Musk’s timestamp exceed 15 hours a day, he admits that he barely stops working.
A few of Musk’s multitasking abilities include flawlessly sending emails while going over invoices, hold meetings while taking care of phone business, and many other quirks that have earned him both praises and criticism. But if there’s one thing we can learn from his acts, it’s that multitasking is possible. Like many others, it’s a skill that you get to learn by actually trying to do it, and by having the strength to face failure each time you don’t succeed. Start by identifying the things that you can do simultaneously. These could simply be minuscule tasks that hold no importance at all, but it would help you develop a habit that could change your life forever.
So there you have it. What are some hacks you use for being productive? Let me know in the comments below!