4 unusual productivity hacks by 4 billionaires

4 Productivity hacks by billionaires

Besides their astronomical net worth, what do Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have in common? Some traits, habits, actions and hacks that have helped them become the success they are today.  

At times, your work life can get overwhelming. You have a thousand things to do: client meeting, internal reviews, sales and target presentations, etc., but what makes a real difference is how effectively you manage everything and succeed.

Although our last few blogs have focused on productivity hacks for office, home and managers, this particular  blog features the unusual productivity hacks of four billionaires that can transform the way you work.    

Sack the sit-down meetings

Let’s start by stating the obvious- Meetings waste a lot of time. Agendas get forgotten, topics go amiss, and people get distracted. Barring few circumstances, a normal meeting on a single topic or client shouldn’t last for more than 5-10 minutes. That’s precisely why the Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson prefers walking meetings.  

Richard feels that decisions get made pretty quickly if you stand up or walk during the meetings. Of course, you can’t walk around in a meeting that involves ten members, but you can stand, huddle and get the ball rolling. It’s also a great way to fit in a bit of exercise and stay focused on a busy day.  

Focus on ‘signal over nose’

As the CEO of three companies — Tesla, SpaceX, and Neuralink — Elon Musk has a lot of things to stay on top of things on a day to day basis. As per several reports, Musk’s jam-packed schedule often sees him darting back and forth between SpaceX’s LA headquarters and Tesla’s base in the Bay Area.

That’s why he starts his day with his most critical work, or in his own terms, things that send “signal over nose”. For Musk, this means dealing with essential emails that he needs to address in order to unblock other people’s work and progress.

In addition to this, he also breaks his entire day into a series of five-minute slots, even eating his lunch in five minutes or less, usually during a meeting.

While dividing a day into five-minute slots might look difficult to execute, you can identify your most critical work and start your day by completing that.   

Fit in ‘do nothing’ time

Sometimes being too busy can get in the way of doing a business or a job well. How many of you reach a point in a day where you feel that your day is so packed with back-to-back meetings that there’s barely any time left to process what’s going on around you or just think? Almost everyday, right? But fret not, even the most successful people in the world face the same issue.   

Which is why, Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, schedules “do nothing” time on his calendar. In fact, leaving gaps in his schedule is the “single most important productivity tool” he uses.

He creates 90 minutes and two hours buffers in his day where he keeps no meetings, no calls and no one can even disturb him during this time. This blank gray slot on his calendar gives him enough time to think and do his job well.

So, no matter how busy you are, try adding these buffers in your day. Use that buffer time to think big, catch up on the latest industry news, read things you were saving in your phone or iPad, or just take a walk. After all, there’s a big difference between being productive and being busy!

Seek negative feedback

As unusual as it sounds, incorporating and accepting negative feedback is an important part of Elon Musk’s work ethic.  

As per Musk, seeking negative feedback might be hurtful at first, but you normally end up getting a lot more out of it.

All you have to do is gather your team and solicit feedback about a particular product, feature, management style, business process, or anything that you are currently trying to improve. Ask them to give their honest feedback and make an effort to apply it.  

You can do the same exercise with your friends and family too. And while the negative feedback may be wrong, you know they are simply trying to help you, and it’s all in good spirit!

So, the next time you find yourself chronically short on time, try giving these five proven productivity hacks a try. You can even come up with a few experiments on your own. It may take some time to find the perfect formula, but the more you optimize your work schedule, the more productive and satisfied you’re going to be!

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