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Things Ultra Productive People Do Differently Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


To discover the secret to extreme produc­tivity, interviews were conducted of more than 200 ultra-­pro­ductive people including 7 billio­naires, 13 Olympians, 20 straight-A students and more than 200 successful CEOs and entrep­ren­eurs. Asked a simple, open-ended question: “What is your number one secret to produc­tiv­ity?” After analyzing all of their responses, several key themes emerged.
Credit: Kevin Kruse is the author of the bestse­lling book 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management

SECRET #1: They don’t use to-do lists.

Throw away your to-do list. Instead, schedule everything on your calendar. It turns out only 41 percent of items on to-do lists are ever actually done according to research by iDoneThis. And all those undone items lead to stress and insomnia because of the Zeigarnik effect—the psycho­logical phenomenon where things weigh on our mind if we don’t have a plan to complete them. Highly productive people put everything on their calendar and then work and live from that calendar. “Use a calendar and schedule your entire day into 15-minute blocks. It sounds like a pain, but this will set you up in the 95th percen­tile,” advises the co-founder of The Art of Charm, Jordan Harbinger.

SECRET #2: They focus only on one thing.

Ultra-­pro­ductive people know their Most Important Task (MIT) and work on it for one to two hours each morning, without interr­upt­ions. Tom Ziglar, CEO of Ziglar Inc., put it this way: “Invest the first part of your day working on your number one priority that will help build your business.” What task will have the biggest impact on reaching your goal? What accomp­lis­hment will get you promoted at work?

SECRET #3: They avoid meetings at all costs

When I asked Mark Cuban to give me his best produc­tivity advice, he quickly responded, “Never take meetings unless someone is writing a check.” Meetings are notorious time killers. They start late, have the wrong people in them, meander in their topics and run long. You should get out of meetings whenever you can, hold fewer of them yourself, and if you do run a meeting, keep it short.

Tips for Produc­tivity

SECRET #4: Process email only a few times a day.

Ultra-­pro­ductive people don’t “check” email throughout the day. They don’t respond to each vibration or ding to see who has intruded into their inbox. Instead, like everything else, they schedule a time to process their email quickly and effici­ently. For some that’s only once a day; for me, it’s morning, noon and night.

SECRET #5: They theme days of the week.

Highly successful people often theme days of the week to focus on major areas. For decades, I’ve used “Mondays for Meetings” and make sure I’m doing one-on-one check-ins with each direct report. My Friday afternoons are themed around financials and general admini­str­ative items that I want to clean up before the new week starts. I’ve previously written about Jack Dorsey’s work themes, which enable him to run two companies at once (Twitter and Square). Batch your work to maximize your efficiency and effect­ive­ness.

SECRET #6: Practice a consistent morning routine

My single greatest surprise while interv­iewing more than 200 highly successful people was how many of them wanted to share their morning ritual with me. Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning, told me, “While most people focus on ‘doing’ more to achieve more, The Miracle Morning is about focusing on ‘becoming’ more so that you can start doing less to achieve more.” While I heard about a wide variety of habits, most people I interv­iewed nurtured their body in the morning with water, a healthy breakfast, and light exercise. They nurtured their mind with meditation or prayer, inspir­ational reading, and journa­ling.

SECRET #7: Energy is everything

You can’t make more minutes in the day, but you can increase your energy which will increase your attention, focus, decision making, and overall produc­tivity. Highly successful people don’t skip meals, sleep, or breaks in the pursuit of more, more, more. Instead, they view food as fuel, sleep as recovery and pulse and pause with “work sprints.”