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15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management

15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management

by Kevin Kruse

We read and hear about strategies for productivity and time management from many sources. We are bombarded with different hacks and best practices, but we tend to forget about them. This book is the solution. It’s a collection of the best practices and productivity hacks, enabling us to double our productivity and, at the same time, our happiness. Written in 2015, this is probably the best book on this subject available to the modern world.

Summary Notes

Chapter 1: The Power of 1440

How would your life change if each and every day you truly felt your 1,440 minutes?

You only have 1,440 minutes each day. If you narrow this down to an 8-hour workday, it leaves only 480 minutes. There is only so much you can do. How many distractions can you eliminate? How much more can you accomplish if you count every single minute of your day?

Let’s get it straight: time is the most important asset you have.

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Chapter 2: The Power of Proper Priorities

How would you like to be totally clear on your ‘one thing’?

People tend to be distracted when they have a lot of things to do. They like to work on easier things, and often avoid important things.

Now, if there was one goal that would make a significant change in your life, what would it be? What’s your most important task?

Remember, it’s not about feeling productive (doing many things at once or doing unimportant but satisfying things), it’s about actually being productive (doing things that have a big impact).

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Chapter 3: Stop Making To-do Lists—Do This Instead

How much less stress would you feel if you could rip up your to-do list and work from your calendar?

Do you really think that Steve Jobs had a to-do list with him and was always thinking, “What’s my next task on the list?” Do you really think that Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and other great people were strictly following their to-do lists?

To-do lists are good to organize your tasks; however, they are also kind of nagging wish-lists. In most cases, you are not able to accomplish all the things that you wish. As your to-do list grows, you start to feel overwhelmed and stressed. You start to connect these bad feelings with your unfinished to-do lists.

What could you do instead?

You could use your calendar! If there is something really important you need to do, it should have a slot on your calendar. You should book time to complete it. This doesn’t mean that you should not use a to-do list; they are still the best way to plan your work. However, use your calendar to plan your day and week, and then work according to your plan. That will ensure that you spend your time on the projects that are most important to you.

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Chapter 4: The Procrastination Cure

Imagine if you could use a mental exercise to finally defeat procrastination. How different might your life be?

The most important thing to remember is that procrastination is not about laziness. Procrastinating is completing more pleasurable tasks and postponing the less pleasurable ones at the same time.

There are two possible reasons you may procrastinate:

1. You lack motivation.

2. You underestimate the power of present emotions versus future emotions when you set your goals.

The first reason is obvious. But what does the second one mean? We tend to think about our future self as someone who will solve all our problems, and at the same time, our present self feels released from the duties.

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Chapter 5: How to Leave the Office at 5:00—Without Guilt

How much better will you feel when you finally accept the fact that you can’t do it all, because there will always be more that can be done?

Running a company is very time consuming, and there are always more things to do. No matter how long we work, we will not complete everything that we would like to. That’s why it’s important not to overwork yourself and to ensure you take free time every day. Leaders of big companies take time to spend with their families, to read books, or just to do things they enjoy. Even President Bush had time to read 95 books a year. If the president has time, surely you do, too.

Accept that you cannot do everything, and understand that free time will help with your productivity.

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Chapter 6: Richard Branson’s Secret Productivity Tool

How much less stress will you feel when you begin to dump everything important into your notebook?

Richard Branson, Aristotle Onassis, Jim Roth, and more all emphasize the importance of always having something to write on. A notebook is one of the most important things you can have. If you don’t write down your thoughts, they might be gone by the next morning.

It’s better to write notes by hand than on a laptop. According to studies, people who take notes by hand are much better at conceptualization than those who use a laptop.

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Chapter 7: Master Your Email Inbox With 321Zero

How can you empty your email inbox quickly and keep it from interfering with truly productive work?

According to studies, office workers spend an average of 2.6 hours per day reading and answering emails. This is one-third of their office time! Clearly, that’s much more time than it should be.

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Chapter 8: Meeting Hacks From Google, Apple, and Virgin

How can you immediately shorten the time spent in meetings by one-third?

Most meetings are very poorly organized, and in consequence, they feel like a waste of time. The biggest problems with meetings are:

- They start late.

- The wrong people participate.

- Time is spent on trivial issues instead of the important ones.

Here are some tips:

Consider utilizing only short, five- to ten-minute meetings.

This is what Richard Branson does.

Consider walking meetings.

That’s the method used by Steve Jobs.

Have stand-up meetings.

According to studies, they are 34 percent shorter and equally as effective.

No smartphones should be allowed during meetings.

It’s inappropriate to answer calls during meetings. Using smartphones during a meeting shows a lack of respect, lack of attention, or even a lack of power.

Before going, always ask yourself if you really need to attend the meeting.

Not everyone must be at every meeting.

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Chapter 9: One Little Word That Multiplies Success

"Focusing is about saying no." —Steve Jobs

In recent years, we have many more avenues of communication available to us, and this causes much greater distraction. Today, it’s much easier to invite a friend for lunch, ask an entrepreneur for a quick call, etc. We live in a world full of opportunities. And if we don’t learn to say no to most of them, we will not get our important work done.

Remember, every time you say yes, it is a no to something else. Some successful people, like James Altucher, have this rule: “If something is not a ‘hell YEAH!’ then it's a ‘no!’”

Saying “no” might feel uncomfortable because we don’t like to let people down. However, if we don’t owe them anything, we can simply say “no.”

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Chapter 10: The Powerful Pareto Principle

Could a simple analysis of your workload make 80 percent of it disappear?

Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto discovered that 80% of the wealth in Italy is owned by 20% of the people. Similarly, 80% of the production comes from 20% of the companies. This rule can be applied to many areas of life including productivity. From this principle, it can be determined that 20% of your tasks will produce 80% of your results.

The important thing here is to get into this mindset:

- Look for shortcuts.

- Do the most important things exceptionally well, and do the rest just good enough.

- Realize that you can work less, stress less, and increase your happiness by figuring out what 20% of the activities are most important to you.

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Chapter 11: The “3 Harvard Questions” That Save Eight Hours a Week

Can three simple questions save you eight hours a week?

There are many different things that managers must do every day. And if you are a startup founder, the variety of things you have to take care of is huge. Why don’t you outsource everything that can be outsourced?

There is probably a better use of your time than doing accounting for your company. There are probably many things that you can assign to your assistant, and free your time to do more important things.

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Chapter 12: Why Twitter Co-Founder Jack Dorsey Themes His Days

What if one simple change to your calendar enabled you to have a quantum leap in your productivity?

If you have a lot of different responsibilities that require your time, think about theming your week. This means focusing on only one aspect of the company for the whole day. For example, you can focus on general management on Mondays, the product on Tuesdays, marketing on Wednesdays, and so on.

Having a clear structure for the week will ensure that no responsibilities are omitted.

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Chapter 13: Don’t Touch! (Until You’re Ready)

Can one small change in your habits gain you dozens of minutes each day and free up mental energy?

When they receive mail, most people like to check it immediately and then postpone all related actions.

For example, when you receive a bill, you check how much to pay and when it is due. Then you postpone paying until it feels right. In this case, you should put the bills away on your desk and pay all of them at once on Friday. If you receive junk mail, you should put it in the garbage bin right away. Such small actions may save you a lot of time.

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Chapter 14: Change Your Morning, Change Your Life

Highly successful people design an empowering and energizing morning routine and stick with it.

Most successful entrepreneurs wake up early and have the same routine each day. The routine is designed to strengthen their body and mind. Pretty much everyone has their own routine; however, some of the elements are the same. For example, highly successful people wake up very early, eat a healthy breakfast, and do some exercises.

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Chapter 15: Energy is Everything

Would you like the real secret to completing twelve hours of work in just an eight-hour day?

You can’t manage time, time is something that flows and you cannot change it. Each of us has 24 hours each day. The real secret to managing your stress and getting more stuff done is managing your energy.

The most productive people usually take more breaks. Working constantly without a break significantly reduces our energy. One of the most popular methods is the Pomodoro technique. In this technique, you work 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break, or you work 50 minutes followed by a 10-minute break.

Many strategies will help you to gain more energy.

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