8 Transformative Habits of the World's Great Achievers

March 28, 2017 Unknown 0 Comments

Who hasn’t wanted to squeeze another hour or two into the day to get more done? While you can’t pause the clock, you can maximize time by increasing productivity. So I thought, “why not learn from some top performers?” and searched the web for ideas. Read on for a roundup of time tricks and techniques from some of the planet's most productive people. 

1. Simplify
Steve Jobs is over cited, but it’s probably because he was so remarkably talented. How did he accomplish so much in the limited time he had? By doing less. Jobs was known for looking at every project and whittling down the choices to the best ones. This strategy helps you focus on your primary goals and also helps prevent you from being overwhelmed and immobilized. Time expert Peter Turla echoes this approach, “It’s not how many things you start that make you successful. It’s how many worthwhile things you finish.” Jobs got this and lived it.

2. Rise Up. Literally.
What did Agatha Christie, Sir Winston Churchill and Leonardo Da Vinci have in common? They all wrote standing up.  Before you write off this habit as a gimmick, consider recent research from the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health that suggested using standing desks may amp up productivity by as much as 53 percent. After all, companies like Facebook aren't outfitting their offices with standing desks on a lark. Want to get something done? Stand up.

3. Get to Know Yourself
What works best for one person may not work best for you. This applies to when as well as to where.  Do you work best in the early morning, like Ben Franklin, who coined the phrase, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a many healthy, wealthy and wise,” or in the wee hours, like German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright Friedrich Schiller, who was known for doing all of his work at night? Knowing where you fall in the mix can help you structure your days (and nights) for optimal productivity. Figure out what time and environment work for you and put them to use. For me, it’s anywhere that I can plug in my headset and turn on my Chill Pandora channel to get focused.

4. But Try Exercising
Exercise gets the blood pumping — and, for many, the creative juices flowing. This infographic of the daily routines of famous creative people reveals that a walk, run or swim is often part of the picture. From clearing the head to recharging the body, there's no arguing that exercise is a productivity-booster. An “ah-ha” moment rarely comes while sitting in a meeting with 20 people. It comes when you have a moment to breathe and pause. So take a walk, or even just the long route to the coffee room, to give your brain the space to unleash its creativity.

5. Experiment
How do you know what will work? Try out different methods and approaches. Consider Vladimir Nabokov,  who used index cards so he could easily rearrange the pieces of his writing. While this may seem like a waste of time, it actually led to better results over the long run. Here’s another way of looking at it, according to John D. Rockefeller: “If you want to succeed, you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.” Do a little something to mix up your everyday routine. Have you brushed your teeth with the other hand recently? (I do, and scramble eggs with the other hand as well. Not easy.)

6. Don’t Break the Chain
Malcolm Gladwell has famously suggested that 10,000 hours is “the magic number of greatness." He means that’s how long you should practice to get great at anything. While Gladwell's examples included everyone from Bill Gates to the Beatles, Jerry Seinfeld also subscribes to a similar productivity tool: repetition. “After a few days,” the comedian says,  “You’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.” Start with short, easy tasks so you actually stick with it to create the habit. Use a chain calendar to track your progress and build on it every day.

7. Say “Yes” to Feedback
Mark Twain used to read his day’s work to his family after dinner to get their feedback. This wasn’t an exercise in vanity, but one of productivity. Many people are afraid of feedback, and with good reason. it can really suck hearing that your work isn’t valued. But to get it right, it’s that feedback that enables you to learn and grow. As Sheila Heen, author of Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well, told Harvard Business Review: “People who go out and solicit negative feedback — meaning they aren’t just fishing for compliments — report higher satisfaction. They adapt more quickly to new roles, get higher performance reviews, and show others they are committed to doing their jobs.” Ed Batista, Executive coach and a lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business, says:, “If you’re having a feedback conversation every week, there’s less to be surprised by and more opportunity to modify your behavior.” Strive to get the most candid feedback possible for your efforts. You’ll win in the long run.

8. Say “No” to Meetings
What does billionaire investor Mark Cuban consider to be his “secret life hack” for improved productivity? Avoiding meetings and phone calls in favor of email. He told Thrive Global, “Love it. Live on it. Saves me hours and hours every day. No meetings. No phone calls. All because of email. I set my schedule." Cuban's meeting-averse philosophy overlaps with that of celebrated economist John Kenneth Galbraith, who once declared, "Meetings are indispensable when you don't want to do anything."  Still not convinced that doing away with meetings makes sense? Look at it business writer Dale Dauten's way:  "A meeting moves at the speed of the slowest mind in the room.” The takeaway? Unless you're that slowest mind, your time is being wasted. While most of us can’t avoid meetings altogether, we can ask for agendas (so meetings don’t get derailed), accept only the meetings that move our ball forward, and help identify clear goals/outcomes for the meetings we attend.

You probably know someone in your own life whose accomplishments seem to defy the laws of time and space. In reality, however, their successes are at least in part about using time to their advantage. Which begs the question: Why aren't you doing the same?  

Do you have a great tip for being effective with time? Let us know here.


Becoming a Timebooster

March 20, 2017 Unknown 0 Comments

Time is the only asset that you lose every second of every day and will never get back. It’s a depreciating resource. If you work harder or faster or better, you can make more money. You can never make more time.

This inescapable fact should make time more valuable than anything else, including money. Yet, most of us treat time with less intention than money. When’s the last time you deliberated about spending money? How about the last time you deliberated about how to spend an hour?  Many of us regret “wasting” money  but will blithely spend an hour or more in an unproductive meeting without giving a thought to the true opportunity cost.

It’s time we paid closer attention to how we spend our time. It begins with embracing a new paradigm for understanding time, seeing it more clearly. It’s an approach we at Timeboost like to call “Time Analytics.”

By seeing your time in this way, a new understanding of your day, week, month, and year emerges. It becomes impossible for you to ignore when your time isn’t being well spent — and the path to getting more of what you want done becomes clearer. You will see how simple, tiny changes level up your time efficiency. We call this “Timeboosting.”

 It’s All About Your Goals

Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a marketer, product maker, a sales leader, or self-employed, wouldn’t it be great to finish each day feeling like you nailed it? Like you moved the ball forward? Like your time went to getting stuff done that’s important to you? We’ve all had these days and they feel great — and pretty much the opposite of  that “where did my time go?” feeling. 

We often don’t stop to consider whether this meeting or that task is truly helping us with our agenda. The number of meeting invites that come flying at us every day is overwhelming. It’s hard to think big picture about your time when you’re in back-to-back meetings and being bombarded with requests for time. 

So many of us fall into the busy myth of equating being swamped with driving our business or life forward. By scheduling time with a relentless focus on your goals, projects, clients, family, exercise — whatever is important to you — you’ll get more done. Like, really get more done. But it’s hard to focus your time without the perspective to see it clearly.

Who’s Taking Up Your Time?

Segmenting your time in meaningful ways and displaying it visually can help. How much time are you spending with the different people you meet each day? Seeing it visualized can be quite a revelation.

It probably wouldn’t surprise you to discover that your boss at work is taking up the majority of your time. But what if the person taking up big chunks of your calendar is simply your co-worker Joe, who you like a lot, but who isn’t associated with your most important activities? Maybe when you spend time with Joe it feels like you’re getting work done. But maybe it’s not your agenda that’s moving forward.

Remember, to a Timebooster, nothing is more important than connecting your goals to your time. Am I meeting my goals by meeting with this person? Or are there other reasons motivating me to spend time with this person?

Seeing who gets your time is eye opening. But this is just one way to slice and visualize your time. There are countless others (short term vs. long-term goals, internal vs. external contacts, current clients vs. potential clients, work vs. family, etc.). By being analytical about your time and getting the big picture of how you’re spending it, you can be much more intentional and effective with it. And that’s how to get more from work — and from life.

It’s Not About Making More 'Free' Time

As a Timebooster, you actually don’t want a lot of open space in your calendar. What you want is to be more strategic about filling up your calendar. A full calendar isn’t stressful anymore, it becomes a de-stressor. Here’s why:

If your calendar is filled, thoughtfully, with what’s important to you, the sense of accomplishment and extracting value from your time follows. And it’s not just about work. Being forthright by scheduling time to get some air, exercise, or just veg out is completely legit. Timeboosters want to do all these things, they just want to do it intentionally so the Facebook and Twitter break is conscious and 15 minutes, not unconscious and an hour.

So keeping an active, packed calendar with scheduled intention is a great way to start. If something is on your to-do list, it should also be slotted into your calendar. If your intention is to spend more time with your family or more time exercising, make sure those times get slotted. Sometimes we think we’ll just “make time” to hang out with the kids or hit the gym, but often it just doesn’t happen. Those open spots on our calendars fill up quickly, so why not decide actively, up front, what gets your attention?

The Timebooster Mindset

The key to GSD (getting shit done) is being intentional with it. That sounds easy, but with so many demands on our time, it’s tough. So finding a way to make it simple to understand how your time is working for you is key.  Embracing the Timebooster mindset doesn’t mean giving up on  spontaneity or improvisation. By being more aware of and intentional with your time, you’ll give yourself the gift of time — to get your agenda done, and unleash what you most enjoy doing.