Here are four secrets for getting important work done, according to these billionaires and successful entrepreneurs:
1. Make room for big goals
Staying productive is about setting big goals and then taking serious steps to accomplish them. This is why Mark Zuckerberg makes room each year for a new challenge, saying he wants to “learn new things and grow outside my work at Facebook.” To date, he has done everything from learning Mandarin to meeting a new person each day outside of work — big goals that fit into his overall vision for work and life.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos takes a backward approach to this goal-oriented thinking — literally. He makes room for big goals by starting with the customer’s needs and working backward to build skills to get that work done faster. Says Bezos, “We learn whatever skills we need to service the customer. We build whatever technology we need to service the customer.”
2. Give each day a job or theme
Then there are the “no-meeting Wednesdays” adopted by Dustin Moskovitz. The Facebook co-founder and Asana CEO believe that the mandate gives him and his team a solid amount of time each week for “focused, heads-down work.”
3. Set limits for tasks, emails, and meetings
Wasted time and fewer results — no time for that. Successful folks know how to make the most out of every minute and meeting. For example, businessman and former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn set time limits on single-purpose, non-operational meetings. “The maximum is one hour and 30 minutes. Fifty percent of the time is for the presentation, 50 percent is for discussion.”
Sheryl Sandberg sets another kind of limit — the length of her emails. The Facebook COO and author say she responds to every single work email, but she saves time by keeping the responses short. “I would rather give a short, quick, incomplete answer than wait and do it better,” she says.
4. Establish “deep work” zones
You might try all four approaches. Or chip away, one tip at a time. The point is, these productive billionaires focus on doing a few things really well each day — not a hundred things haphazardly.
And that might be the ultimate productivity secret: focus. When you bring more and more of it into your life, you might be amazed at what you can accomplish in a single day.
What are your productivity secrets?