One of the surest ways to increase your own performance and reach higher levels of success is by modeling the behavior of those who’ve already achieved what you want to achieve in life and business.
When it comes to productivity and getting work done, there’s a lot to learn from the most successful entrepreneurs. Therefore, in this article, I’ll share 7 highly value productivity tips from 7 ultra-successful entrepreneurs.
Lesson 1: Say ‘No’ More Than You Say ‘Yes’
“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” — Warren Buffett
When you start to get to a certain level of success, more and more opportunities come your way. Whether it’s more people who want to meet with you, get coaching from you or have other business opportunities for you — the demands will increase.
When you say yes too often, your focus, time and energy will be split way too thin among too many different things. Therefore, your priorities — the things that made you successful in the first place — don’t get the resources they require.
Instead, become very strict about how you spend your time and energy. Become a master at identifying the truly important stuff and saying ‘no’ to the lesser important things. This way, you make optimal use of your time.
Lesson 2: Use Your Mornings For Peak Productivity
“I try to fill my calendar in reverse, from the end-of-day to earlier; I try to reserve the morning for doing ‘real work.’ I find I can focus more in the morning, whereas it’s harder to get focused after having been bombarded by meetings, so I try to save meetings for later in the day.” — Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder of Airbnb
According to research, for most people, the morning is the most productive time of the day. In the morning, your brain has sufficient energy for cognitively demanding tasks that require intense focus, deep thinking and problem-solving.
When you’ve already been bombarded with meetings, email, and lesser important tasks, your brain is too energy depleted. It doesn’t have enough left to produce high-quality work.
Furthermore, demands tend to increase as the day progresses. Urgent and unexpected tasks tend to pop up, disruptive emails hijack your attention and other people will make more demands. In the morning, however, there’s often more time and space to focus uninterruptedly for longer periods of time.
This is why the most successful entrepreneurs often dedicate their mornings to deep work instead of meetings, email or lesser important tasks.
Lesson 3: Don’t Let Email Interrupt Your Focus & Flow
“Shut down Outlook, turn off new email notifications on your BlackBerry, do whatever you have to do to muffle the interruption of email.” — Gina Trapani, founder ThinkUp
The most productive entrepreneurs understand how notifications and interruptions — especially those from email — are detrimental to their productivity.
Each time they receive a notification from a new email while working on something important, their time and focus will be hijacked because the urge of checking email is often too hard to resists. Before you know it, you get sucked into an email vortex and you’ve lost another 20 minutes of productive time.
Therefore, highly successful entrepreneurs schedule fixed times in their day for checking email. This way, they protect their time and focus for important work, but don’t miss any urgent emails.
Remember, email is hardly ever important work. It might be urgent work, but what’s urgent isn’t always important. Responding to email isn’t creating anything new, it isn’t producing any real value. Therefore, don’t let email interrupt your truly valuable work.
Lesson 4: Delegate Tasks To Free Up Time & Focus For Highly Valuable Work
Bedros Keuilian, founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp, told Fast Company Magazine: “A few years ago, I was trying to do almost everything myself, like thinking up marketing campaigns, managing our team, handling customer support, doing bookkeeping, writing payroll checks, creating social media content, and more. I was running out of time, feeling stressed and quickly burning out. Then it hit me: Only 5% of the things I do are tasks that actually move the money needle, and those were the critical things that I needed to focus on 100% of the time. Everything else can be delegated to team members or subcontractors who have the skill sets and abilities to perform the job. This has been a game-changer for my business as we continue to have massive growth year after year.”
Ultra-successful entrepreneurs realize they have to delegate tasks that aren’t moving the needle that much for their business. Doing so frees up their time, focus and energy for those few important tasks that actually move the needle.
Lesson 5: Take Notes
“I think the number one thing that I take with me when I’m traveling is the notebook … I could never have built the Virgin Group into the size it is without those few bits of paper … If you have a thought but don’t write it down, by the next morning it may be gone forever.” — Richard Branson
When you have an idea or dominant thought, write it down. This way, you don’t forget it and you free up valuable mind space that can be used for productive work.
Personally, I find that writing down ideas is key to business success. Out of nowhere, I get new ideas for articles, products or next business moves. By writing them down, I make sure to capture them so I can deal with them later. Some of my most profitable actions came from simply writing down an idea, thoughts, or lesson learned.
Remember, your brain is not a storage space for thoughts and ideas, it’s a generator of thoughts and ideas. The more you ‘store’ in your brain, the less room there is for generating new ideas.
Personally, I use the BestSelf Journal for taking notes and writing down my business ideas. In my opinion, it’s the best journal optimized for productivity and goal-achievement. If you’re interested, check it out right HERE. Use code ‘PGLJari’ at checkout to receive a 15% discount!
Lesson 6: Make Sleep & Rest A Priority
“My single most effective trick for getting things done is to stop doing what I’m doing and get some sleep. There is nothing that negatively affects my productivity and efficiency more than lack of sleep. After years of burning the candle on both ends, my eyes have been opened to the value of getting some serious shut-eye,” — Arianna Huffington
A night of good sleep is at the foundation of a productive day, filled with more energy, better ability to concentrate, stronger willpower and a better mood. On the contrary, not getting enough sleep is correlated with lower productivity, weaker willpower, and a worse mood.
Personally, I make sure to always get 8 hours of sleep. If I don’t, I notice my thinking is cluttered and I can’t maintain deep focus for long.
Lesson 7: Identify And Protect Your Peak Energy Time For Focused Work
“I find it’s been immensely helpful for me to pay attention to when in the day I’m most productive (what hours, under what conditions) and aggressively guard that time for focused work.” — Kathryn Minshew, co-founder The Muse
Many highly successful entrepreneurs are aware of when they have the most energy in their day so that they can protect that time at all costs in order to do highly focused work. It’s when they can maximize their time and effort, and be most productive. The most effective entrepreneurs use this time to tackle high-value tasks and never waste it on low-value tasks.
For most people, the morning is the most productive time of the day. However, you might experience an energy boost at other times of the day as well — which should be used for getting important work done.
Personally, I’m most productive at around 10:00 in the morning, and I experience another productivity boost at around 16:00. It’s when I tend to have the most energy. Therefore, I do my most important work at those times. I block all notifications, put my phone away and remove all possible distractions. I put on some music, which enables me to enter flow state easier. Then I work without interruption for at least one hour on a highly important task.
Now Do It
Change only comes from taking action, not just by knowing. Therefore, I encourage you to try out at least 3 of these tips as soon as possible!
Let me know in the comments which ones you’re going to try out.
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab