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Last Updated on October 28, 2018

7 Secrets on How Super Successful People Manage Their Time

7 Secrets on How Super Successful People Manage Their Time

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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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

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 October 22, 2019

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

More Resources About Boosting Focus and Productivity

Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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