Why is it that though we all are subjected to a limited 24 hours a daytime resource, some tend to utilise it in an uber productive way, while the majority of us tend to lag behind? What are the secrets that these highly successful people use to increase their productivity, which is still a mystery for the common man?
These were some questions running through my head as I decided to do my research and tune into the time management secrets of the extremely successful people of this world.
Gradually I noticed a similar pattern emerge as I focused my inquisitive magnifying glass over the lives of the rich and famous. My eureka moment came once I had jotted down the main ways that the majority of successful people utilised their time.
It made me realise how some people tend to be so ‘busy’ yet hardly manage to get a lot of productive things done throughout their day due to their inexperience when it came to time management.
We all want to be successful, and this is one area where the saying ‘Ignorance is bliss’ would definitely be a no-no. No more time wasting, I resolved firmly, and understanding that there are many people out there like me, I have decided to share the five things very successful people do to manage their time more efficiently with you.
Plan Your Goals
As cliché as it may sound, successful people firmly believe that ‘Time is Money’. After all, it is a limited resource, and hence should be treated as such. Successful people tend to look at time as an investment from which they want to maximise their return.
How would one know which activities to invest time in if you don’t know what your goal is? First of all, you need to set a long-term goal and break it down into achievable short-term targets.
You can further break the short-term goals into tasks you want to accomplish on a daily basis and monitor them via stopwatch or other similar software. Tasks include making a to-do list or just a general list of what you want to accomplish on that certain day.
Keep this list in front of you, try to focus on it and try to accomplish it to the best of your ability. Once you have a blueprint or a plan to focus on, productivity tends to increase. As Stephen R. Covey, author of the bestselling book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ puts it so wisely, “The key is not in spending time but in investing it.”
Once you have set a list of goals, you need to be completely honest with yourself and identify what is most important for you. What thing do you want to accomplish the most? Then prioritise your list accordingly. One subsidiary of understanding how to prioritise is learning how to delegate.
If you are an entrepreneur or business owner and have a team working under you, learn to delegate the less important tasks, especially those that don’t require direct involvement from you, to other team members.
This way you will have more time to accomplish more important things. Prioritising your tasks will also help you focus on the most important ones. The majority of the highly successful people have a laser-like focus on their goals, and it acts as a driving force to help motivate them to achieve their dreams.
“I have learned time management, organisation, and I have priorities,” said the fashion designer and super successful business woman Tory Burch.
Understand Your Individual Needs
Our energy is limited. However, most of us have different energy levels. Some people work best in the mornings while others are night owls. You need to understand your body’s natural rhythm and try to accomplish the most important tasks of your day when you are feeling your best energy wise.
Ideally, you want to utilise your time in such a way that it maximises your energy levels. Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder of Airbnb, works best during the morning while US President Barack Obama is more productive at night.
Learn to Say No
Use time proactively instead of reacting to external circumstances, which can change from day to day. Regardless of what comes up during the day, keep an eye on your most important tasks and yet if something requires immediate attention, communicate there as well.
Most of the time, external circumstances are not extremely urgent or important and hence it is important not to let them distract you from your goals. Successful people understand this principal and learn to say no to trivial interruptions.
Warren Buffet, billionaire and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, says “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything”.
Just Do it
Once you have a blueprint of what you want to do and have prioritised your goals, the next step is to just do it! The common man can spend a lot of time over analysing things and over thinking. Wasting time is something highly successful people just don’t do. They keep their goals in front of them, focus on the tasks planned, and aim to accomplish the list.
The legendary painter Pablo Picasso said so wisely, “Only put off till tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”. Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell also famously said, “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
With this valuable insight into how the very successful manage their time, you can considerably increase your own productivity and effectiveness. So roll up your sleeves and get to work, using these proven methods to turn your dreams into reality.