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7 Secrets on How Super Successful People Manage Their Time

7 Secrets on How Super Successful People Manage Their Time
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For many years I have been cyber-stalking successful people. I am fascinated by how truly successful people manage their time and organize their days. People who are seemingly always producing, shipping and building businesses particularly interest me.

These people are humans just like you and me. I know the word “superhuman” is often bandied around when talking about people like this, but they are still flesh and blood, However, these people have a mindset about time management that takes them beyond average. It takes them towards excellence and that is where the difference between being average and being super-successful is.

It’s nothing to do with genes or talents. It is a pure mindset and that means you can acquire the same mindset and, while not necessarily become super-successful, you may just create something very special.

Here are seven ways super successful people manage their daily lives that we can all adopt to move our lives further forward:

1. Daily routines

This one stands out above everything else. Almost every successful person I have ‘cyber-stalked’ have some form of morning and evening routine.

From Tim Cook to Warren Buffett, they all begin the day, in the same way, every day. Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 am and goes off to the gym, Warren Buffett drives the five minutes to work every morning and decides which MacDonald’s breakfast to buy based on the overnight stock prices (I love that one). Tony Robbins goes through an elaborate set of exercises to “prime” himself for the day ahead. Satya Nadella goes for a morning run. The list goes on.

The reason a daily routine works is it grounds you for the day. It allows you time to focus and have some solitude before you hit the craziness of the day. It prepares you for the day ahead and focuses in on what you want to accomplish that day and it allows you a few moments of calm.

If you wake up allowing yourself just enough time to shower, brush your teeth and scoff down your breakfast before rushing out the door to catch your bus, you are starting the day in a state of stress and any benefit that extra thirty minutes of sleep gave you is wiped out by the stress you now feel.

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Daily routines make you more energetic and productive throughout the day, here’s how:

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2. A single-minded focus on the important

A trait all successful people have is they have developed the ability to quickly decide whether something is important or not. They can immediately decide what task needs performing to move a project forward.

Less successful people get caught up in trivialities. Things like finding someone to blame for a mistake, stressing about the number of emails they have to deal with and getting involved in office politics. These are trivialities the super-successful never get involved in.

If you want to achieve success just do not go there. Understand what is important and what is not and focus on the important. Ask yourself what work would have the biggest positive impact on your day, life and work? Do that.

Easily distracted and hard to focus? Start doing this.

3. Super Successful People know exactly where they are going

Knowing your destination is not only a good idea, it is also vital if you ever want to achieve success at anything. This is not just some vague idea, such “I want to be a CEO one day” this is super clear clarity on the lines “I will be CEO of SpaceX by 2045”. Dana White, the UFC President, in interviews talks about how certain he was as a teenager that he would be in the fight business.

Nothing else mattered to him. It was a complete total focus.

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When you have this kind of clarity the way you organise your day changes. Instead of allowing daily trivialities take up a disproportionate amount of your time, you view every decision you make through the prism of how will this help me become CEO of SpaceX by 2045? Or how will this get me in the fight business?

This clarity provides you with focus, energy and a complete determination to achieve your goal.

4. They collect their ideas in a notebook

People like Sir Richard Branson and Cheryl Sandberg famously carry a little notebook with them everywhere they go. But this is not unique to Sir Richard Branson and Cheryl Sandberg.

David Allen carries his note-taker wallet everywhere he goes, I’ve seen Tony Robbins carrying around a Moleskine notebook with him when he’s not on stage.

Throughout the day you are going to have incredible ideas. Most people never write these down and they are soon forgotten. It only takes one idea to turn you into the next Elon Musk. If you write it down there’s a chance you will develop the idea into something special. If you don’t the chances are it will disappear forever.

Get into the habit of collecting all your ideas into a notebook or your phone. What you write down could become the seeds of your future success.

And when you start writing down ideas, you’re helping yourself to build a Digital Brain — which actually increases your brain power, boosts memory and helps you become 10X smarter!

5. Long periods of intense focus time

Robin Sharma, Tony Robbins and Amir Salihefendic (of Doist) schedule long periods of focused time and we are not talking about a few hours or days. We are talking about taking a whole month or two for intense single project focus.

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These people come off the grid, don’t allow any interruptions and get down to some single-minded, intense focused work on a single project. That could be a book, a new course or improvement to an existing product or it could be a completely new project. The length of time, intensity and total focus results in some incredibly amazing products that sell in their millions.

Most of us don’t spend half a day on a project without allowing something else interrupt us and take us off into directions that will not help us to achieve any kind of success.

Of course, this can be difficult if you work for a company and have a boss, but the reality is if you are really serious about achieving success you are going to have to find the time to focus on your ideas or spend your working life taking instructions from another person.

You are going to have to make the decision about whether you want to be a follower your whole life or become a leader. Leaders control their time, followers allow other people to control their time. It’s your choice.

6. They are in complete control of their calendars

This one is one of the key reasons Warren Buffett carries a little diary with him everywhere. His calendar is in that little diary and no one but no one other than himself has access to it. Most of us willingly allow our coworkers to schedule meetings and appointments on our calendars, successful people never do that.

If you want a successful person to attend your meeting you have to ask them and the really successful would never consider attending a meeting unless an agenda is provided and in Tony Robbins’s case you have a clearly defined desired outcome.

Make it your objective today to take complete control of your calendar and never allow anyone else schedule appointments for you. Be in control of your time. It’s your most valuable asset. Don’t allow anyone else tell you how you will spend it.

7. They schedule self-development and reading time every day

Continuous self-development and reading is a key part of a successful person’s success. Stagnating skills and a lack of reading is a sure fire way to not succeed.

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Warren Buffett spends up to eighty per cent of his working day reading and learning and Bill Gates’ annual reading list is famed for its incredible knowledge. Robin Sharma seemingly reads a book a day and posts recommendations on his social media feeds. Tony Robbins attributes his understanding of the human mind from the books he read.

Reading and continuous learning is a key part to any successful person’s arsenal and is something anyone can do. If you don’t like reading, then buy the audiobooks.

Start with Napoleon Hill’s Think And Grow Rich and Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People and you will have started with two of the most powerful self-help books out there.

You can watch YouTube videos of interviews with people like Tim Cook, Satya Nadella and Oprah Winfrey. From just those resources you will learn a tremendous amount.

Final thoughts

We live in a world that is changing faster than at any time in history. The only way to stay relevant in this world is to be continuously developing your skills and learning new skills.

Discovering new insights through reading quality books and being open to learning from the successful people of our time. To be able to do that, you need to schedule time each day for reading and self-development. There has never been a better time to be successful.

The problem today is not resources, the problem today is the number of resources available to us. If you want to achieve success in whatever way you define success, then you need to take control of your time, focus on the important, reject trivialities, schedule time for self-development and protect your most valuable asset—time—with everything you have.

Featured photo credit: Sean Paul Kinnear via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Carl Pullein

Dedicated to helping people to achieve their maximum potential through better time management and productivity.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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