Do self-made millionaires and ultra productive people think about their day differently? I’ve interviewed hundreds of ultra productive people including billionaires and highly successful entrepreneurs and in this episode, I’m sharing the commonalities in how they start and schedule their day.
What you’re going to learn:
- What you should be doing in the first 30-60 minutes of your day
- The morning rituals of John Lee Dumas, Kevin O’Leary and Ken Blanchard
- How highly successful people manage email throughout their day
- The meeting habits of Marissa Mayer and Richard Branson
“A productive day is built on a foundation of a strong morning.”
“One of the saddest mistakes in time management is the propensity of people to spend the two most productive hours in their day on things that don’t require high cognitive capacity, like social media. If we could salvage those precious hours, most of us would be much more successful in accomplishing what we truly want.”
All right, all right. I am Kevin Kruse. Welcome to the show where I am teaching you how to 10x your productivity based on my research into highly successful people, the highest achievers out there in various fields. In the last episode I shared Mark Cuban’s number one productivity secret, and today I’m going to explain how self-made multi-millionaires schedule their day. How do they go back planning their day? Let’s start by getting you that cheat sheet, the one page planning tool that millionaires use to schedule their day. One page tool you can use right away, an instant download. All you need to do is send a text message to 44222 with the word achieve, or just come on over to the podcast website. It’s productivity-podcast.com.
Do self-made millionaires and ultra productive people, do high achievers, do they think about their day differently? What you’re going to hear in this episode, if you’ve been following along and you listen to the previous episodes, this is going to be a good reminder, a good anchoring of a lot of the concepts we’ve been introducing on their own. As I’ve spoken to and interviewed hundreds of ultra productive people, I keep hearing these common themes over and over again. First, self-made millionaires, ultra productive people, they have a sacred morning ritual.
Back when I was young and dumb, the alarm would go off, I’d take my five or ten minute shower, I’d race out the door, stop at the 7-Eleven for a cup of coffee on the way in and dive in because I just felt I was more productive getting into the office. I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t need food, and that’s how I started my day. That’s not how ultra productive people start their day. They know that a productive day is built on a foundation of a strong morning. Rather than racing out the door, they spend thirty to sixty minutes strengthening their mind and their body. Hal Elrod, I bring him up a lot, he talks about the miracle morning. Instead of trying to achieve more by doing more, your morning, your miracle morning, lets you achieve more by becoming more.
John Lee Dumas goes for a thirty-five minute power walk while listening to podcasts first thing in the morning. Ken Blanchard, I had an opportunity to have lunch with him. He’s the author of The One Minute Manager and sixty other leadership books, runs a very successful large training company. At lunch he told me that every morning he gets up early and he rides on his exercise bike while reading some inspirational text. Kevin O’Leary, Shark Tank entrepreneur, he shared in an interview that I saw that he rides an exercise bike also for forty-five minutes in the morning while watching the news. Dan Miller, great entrepreneur, career expert, told me, “I take advantage of the rich audio programs available, so then I fill forty-five minutes with physical exertion combined with mental input and expansion. I carefully protect that first hour of the day.” You wake up, you nourish your body, and your nourish your mind.
Second, they always identify their most important task, their MIT. It’s based on their values and their goals. If health is truly a high priority, they make sure they schedule time for it during the day, some exercise time. If family is a priority, they schedule the time that they’re going to head for home at the end of the work day. They schedule time for date nights, for kid events, birthdays, vacations, sometimes a year in advance. The people I interviewed knew how to take a big annual goal and break it into bite size chunks that could be actioned on a daily basis. They would always know what’s the next domino to tip over that’s going to get me closer to my goals. That’s my MIT. That’s what I need to focus on for the day.
That’s the third step. They schedule time for their MIT as early in the morning as possible, at least an hour, sometimes two. They know that they’re cognitively at their best in the morning. About an hour or two after we wake up, that’s when we’re sharpest when it comes to willpower, decision making, all the good stuff. Reddit AMA, ask me anything, behavior psychologist Dan Ariely answered a question with this. He says, “One of the saddest mistakes in time management is the propensity of people to spend the two most productive hours in their day on things that don’t require high cognitive capacity, like social media. If we could salvage those precious hours, most of us would be much more successful in accomplishing what we truly want.”
How many of us go into the office and our first couple of hours we’re immediately pulled into meetings? Staff meetings, status update meetings, whatever the meeting is. How many of us will open up our email inbox and start clearing through emails that came in over night? How many of us will look at our to do list? Remember, we’re not supposed to be using to do lists anymore. We want to look at that to do list, and we’ll say, “Oh, let’s feel productive. We’ll sign some expense reports and get that off our list.” Highly successful people, they’re not looking at it that way. They’re protecting their strongest cognitive time in the morning. During that time they’re not multitasking. Mike Cannon-Brookes, he’s a billionaire, co-founder of Atlassian, that software company out of Australia that just recently IPO’d. He says, “Listen, do one thing at once. Stop multitasking. Shut down your email. Shut off those notifications when you’re working in the zone in the morning.”
Fourth, they eliminate meetings or keep them as short as possible. We just covered that in a previous episode. Mark Cuban’s advice, never do meetings unless someone’s writing you a check. Highly successful people know that meetings are inefficient. If you can’t stay out of them, keep them as short as possible. Marissa Mayer now at Yahoo!, previously at Facebook and Google, is legendary for holding meetings only five or ten minutes long. Similarly, Richard Branson revealed in a blog post, “It is very rare that a meeting on a single topic should need to last more than five to ten minutes.” Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, are all known for conducting walking meetings. Others swear by standing meetings. I used to do stand up huddles at the end of my days.
They also schedule time to process their email. Highly successful people don’t check their email throughout the day. They’re not responding to every buzz on their smartphone to see what landed in their inbox. They just schedule it deliberately, times to process their email just like any other task. Highly successful people also make it home for dinner. They have a hard stop on their workday, and they know when they will leave the office to get home. Founder and former CEO of Intel Andy Grove would consistently leave work at 6:00 or 6:30, regardless of what was going on. He wrote in his book, High Output Management, “My day ends when I’m tired and ready to go home. There’s always more to be done, more that should be done, always more than can be done. When you realize that there will always be more work to do it frees you up to be intentional about when is enough enough.”
There’s a lot more items they do. They’re included on this free download I’m encouraging you to get. Ultra productive people are staying hydrated. Dehydration of even one percent has an impact on our prefrontal cortex. That’s the part of our brain that’s like the CEO. They delegate more. A very powerful thing is they look at their calendar, they look at all their tasks and they ask themselves, “Can I just delete this thing and not do it? Can I delegate this thing? Can I redesign the activity in some way so that it takes less time?” They’re diligent about it. My old mentor, Rudy Carson, used to say … He would look at the list of to dos and he wouldn’t ask himself, “How can I do this?” He would say, “How can this get done?” As soon as he would phrase it that way, all of a sudden it’s like, hey, I don’t need to do it, but maybe Kevin can do it. Can I just stop doing it and delete it or be a no show? Can I delegate it, or if I have to do this thing, can I redesign the process in some way that it takes less time?
Hey, how can you apply all this? This wraps a lot of what we’ve talking about. The major pillars of how self-made millionaires, Olympic athletes, so many others I spoke to, how they schedule their day. I hope you will send a text to 44222. Just send the word achieve or go to the website extreme-productivity.com. Download the planning tool. It will help guide you through your most important tasks, other meetings or tasks, and whether or not you can get out of them. It will help you to schedule those email processing times, your hard stops, and how to take care of your health and your body in a way that you’ve got maximize energy. That’s it. I hope you enjoyed this episode, and make sure you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or in Stitcher so you won’t miss the next episode. Until then, remember master your minutes to master your life.