Productivity Secrets of Famous CEOs (Part 2)

The first article of this two-part series on time management discussed the productivity hacks of Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Tony Hsieh, Katia Beauchamp, Jeff Weiner, and Steve Ballmer. 

Now, we look into the secrets of 5 more mega-successful leaders and why their strictly curated personal commitments get results. 

6. Categorize your days 

Image from Variety 

When you’re hyper focused on one task in a day instead of jumping from one thing to another, you are more likely to get things done. It’s a rule that co-founder and CEO of Twitter & SquareJack Dorsey, abides by. 

Doing so makes it harder for you to break your momentum when you “get into the zone,” especially if you’re a leader in charge of multiple projects. The flexibility of this rule also allows you to make time for important personal matters and not just get lost in an unending stream of work commitments that might threaten the stability of your work-life balance. 

7. Be strict about meetings 

Image from Vanity Fair 

Unproductive meetings cost the economy $37 billion every year. In one survey1, 91% of respondents admitted to daydreaming while in a meeting. 

Poorly structured meetings can do more harm than good to everyone’s productivity and work morale. That is why CEO of Homejoy Adora Cheung passes around a Google doc where everyone can write down what they wanted to discuss during the meeting. Only the topics written in the document would then be discussed during the meeting; anything outside the agenda never gets touched on. 

This technique is fantastic if you want to ensure that the meeting actually provides value to everyone in attendance. 

8. Use the two-pizza rule for meetings 

Image from Entrepreneur 

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is not a fan of meetings either. In fact, he refuses to attend any meeting he considers “too big”. He calls this the “two-pizza” rule, meaning that if the number of people invited to the meeting cannot be fed by two pizzas, then it’s simply not worth the time. 

The two-pizza rule makes sure the group is small enough to allow everyone to actively contribute. 

9. Break the day into 5-minute slots 

Image from CNBC 

Tech titan Elon Musk is a master of time, dividing his week to run five companies. How does he manage to run five companies at the same time? By splitting his day into 5-minute chunks2. Indeed, five minutes might seem like a ridiculously short amount of time, but you’ll be surprised how much you can do in five minutes! 

10. Focus on one task and pursue it with gusto! 

Image from HYPE 

Co-founder of PayPal Peter Thiel believes that the key to achieving that thing you want to achieve is to make it your sole focus and to pursue it above everything else. 

This “One Thing” philosophy clears out all distractions and irrelevant agenda from the table and forces you to identify your main priority. Once you do, all other things you do have to be aligned with that one agenda in mind. 

Final Word 

As you can see, most of these rules are not really extraordinary. In fact, it’s the simplicity of these methods that make them effective.  

Jobs’ and Buffett’s saying No to a hundred things and Thiel’s One Thing Philosophy teach us to know our priorities and be selective with where we put our attention. 

Cheung’s Google docs meeting strategy and Bezos’ two-pizza rule tell us to get rid of meetings for meetings' sake.  

Ballmer’s time budgeting and Musk’s 5-minute slots encourage us to look at time as a precious, finite resource.  

All these teach us that you don’t need a complicated system in place to help you achieve the things you most want in life. Consistency and fidelity to your single, chosen strategy is the single most important determiner of whether you get results or not. 

Which one works best for you? 

Make the most of your time

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