4 Productivity Gurus [Profiled]

It’s important to choose experts you trust, admire and follow. It’s not important to read everything and anything. Pick them wisely based on your beliefs, values, and where you want to go. Then, apply their teachings and insights in your life. Then, tweak and adjust them to your needs. That’s how I became successful.

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  1. Four productivity Gurus I follow
  2. Get 80/20 summaries of some of their best advice
StartupGeist Blog - 4 Productivity Gurus Profiled

Have you heard of Tim Ferriss? David Allen? Ramit Sethi? Or James Clear?


Then you already know my four productivity gurus I trust and follow.

Today, I want to write about why is it important to have a few selected gurus for your life.

They guide you.

They give references.

I was for tooooo long obsessed with my Ego. Trying to figure out everything by myself.

That’s stupid.

It takes humility to realize this. It takes defeat. It might take crisis — all three things happened in my life, divorce, failed startup, failed passive income, failed freelancing.

Yet, I am happy and fulfilled as I am growing and learning.

What’s the key?

I started applying best practices from experts I trust and I admire. I took their systems and tweaked them for my life. I became healthier, stronger, more peaceful. And in turn, more successful.

As I stopped reading, and started applying, a major transformation happened.

I want you to take away this.

Whereever you are, whatever you do, IT’S NEVER TOO LATE.

You can be productive. You be focused. You can be disciplined.

Don’t believe your thoughts. Because you are NOT your thoughts. You can change them, and so you will change your behaviour, actions, and results. To

To finally get what you want.

Here are my four productivivty experts I trust, respect and admire.

david allen, profile

#1: David Allen

What he is known for:

Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them. That’s why David Allen created Getting Things Done®.

Where to start? Get one of his books:

tim ferriss, profile

#2: Tim Ferriss

  • Author of three #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers
  • Listed as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People” and declared “Names You Need to Know” by Forbes Magazine
  • Visit his Blog and get his newsletter
  • Follow him on Twitter (1.3M followers)

What he is known for:

Tim is great at showing us HOW TO …

  • Be productive, healthy and wise (see books below)
  • Learn anything in record time
  • Increase focus, productivity, and boldness (See the Tim Ferriss Experiments)

Where to start? Get one of his books:

  • “Be wealthly”: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
  • “Be healthy”: The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman
  • “Be wise”: The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life
ramit sethi

#3: Ramit Sethi

  • Visit his Website ‘I Will Teach You To Be Rich’ & follow his Blog (+500k follower)
  • Get his NY Times Bestseller book: I Will Teach You To Be Rich
  • Browse his products on business training, productivity, optimize your psychology, finding dream job and personal finance

What he is known for:

  • Learn how to use psychology and systems to live a Rich Life.
  • Learn to automate your finances, making more money, starting an online business or mastering your inner psychology
  • Gives away 95% of his content for free aiming to make it better than most paid products

Where to start:

james clear, profile

#4: James Clear

What he is known for:

James is great at showing us HOW TO …

  • break bad habits and replace them with good routines that actually stick
  • reverse the unhealthy and unproductive behaviors in your life
  • get in the best shape of your life (physically and mentally)
  • increase your creativity and boost your energy

Where to start:

What else:

Introducing 8020ies — Actionable & Snackable Insights for Your Success

Want all 80/20 Summaries? Click here or on the Image to get instant access to StartupGeist’s Free Content Library.
Want all 80/20 Summaries? Click here or on the Image to get instant access to StartupGeist’s Free Content Library.

Best of James Clear [80/20ies]

Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on Systems Instead.

What to DO (your actions!)

  • Use goals for planning your progress
  • Use systems for actually making progress

Why to do it (little context)

  • Committing to the process is what makes the difference.
  • The Difference Between Goals and Systems:
  • If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.
  • If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.
  • Goals reduce your current happiness > SOLUTION: Commit to a process, not a goal.

How Positive Thinking Builds Your Skills, Boosts Your Health, and Improves Your Work

What to DO (your actions!)

  • Meditation — People who meditate daily display more positive emotions that those who do not.
  • Writing — students who wrote about positive experiences had better mood levels, fewer visits to the health center, and experienced fewer illnesses.
  • Play — schedule time to play into your life.
  • Give yourself permission to smile and enjoy the benefits of positive emotion.

Why to do it (little context)

  • Negative emotions narrow your mind and focus your thoughts. Positive thoughts will help you see more possibilities in your life.
  • Positive thinking enhances your ability to build skills and develop resources for use later in life.
  • There’s no doubt that happiness is the result of achievement but it’s also the precursor to success.

Why Trying to Be Perfect Won’t Help You Achieve Your Goals

What to DO:

  • Start With Repetitions, Not Goals
  • Put in Your Reps

Why to do it:

  • The goal is just an event — something that you can’t totally control or predict.
  • But the reps are what can make the event happen.
  • If you ignore the outcomes and focus only on the repetitions, you’ll still get results.
  • If you ignore the goals and build habits instead, the outcomes will be there anyway.

How to Achieve Your Goals

What to DO:

  • Set a schedule to operate by rather than a deadline to perform by.
  • Focus on the Practice, Not the Performance

Why to do it:

  • The problem is this: we set a deadline, but not a schedule.
  • Productive and successful people practice the things that are important to them on a consistent basis.
  • The focus is on doing the action, not on achieving X goal by a certain date.
  • It’s about practicing the craft, not performing at a certain level.

Do Things You Can Sustain

What to DO:

  • Make the process of getting started and sustaining your behavior much simpler by setting an incredibly easy upper limit.
  • Let upper bound limits drive your behaviors in the beginning and then slowly increase your output.
  • Example exercising:
  • Most people would focus on the lower limit and say, “I have to start exercising for at least 45 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.”
  • Instead say “I am not allowed to exercise for more than 5 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.Most people would focus on the lower limit and say, “I have to start exercising for at least 45 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.”
  • Use a safety margin for growth.

Why to do it:

  • It is better to make small progress every day than to do as much as humanly possible in one day.
  • There is a magical zone of long-term growth: Pushing enough to make progress, but not so much that it is unsustainable.
  • I chose to stay within a safety margin of growth and avoided going too fast. I wanted every set to feel easy.
  • Put another way: Average speed wins.

Average speed wins

What to DO:

  • Improve by just 1 percent daily — even though it is often not noticeable, but small wins and slow gains can be really meaningful, especially in the long run

Why to do it:

  • There is power in small wins and slow gains.
  • Most people love to talk about success (and life in general) as an event.
  • The truth: significant things in life aren’t stand-alone events, but rather the sum of all the moments when we chose to do things 1 percent better or 1 percent worse.

How to Increase Your Average Speed

What to DO:

  • Consider your goals and your current average speed, and thinking about how you can increase your output by just a little bit on a consistent basis.
  • Don’t judge yourself or feel guilty about having a lower average speed than you would like.
  • Be aware of what’s actually going on, realize that it’s within your control, and then embrace the fact that a small, but consistent change in your daily habits can lead to a remarkable increase in your average speed.

Why to do it:

  • The truth is, anyone can get motivated and push themselves for one day, but very few people maintain a consistent effort every week without fail.
  • Here are some examples…
  • If your average speed is eating three healthy meals per week, can you “graduate” that to one healthy meal per day?
  • If your average speed is exercising twice per month, can you “graduate” that to once per week?
  • 3 Surprisingly Simple Things You Can Do Right Now to Build Better Habits
  • What to DO:
  • Start with a habit that is so easy you can’t say no.
  • Want to build an exercise habit? Your goal is to exercise for 1 minute today.
  • Want to start a writing habit? Your goal is to write three sentences today.
  • Take some time to understand exactly what is holding you back.
  • Develop a plan for when you fail.
  • Why to do it:
  • Building new habits can be tough, but there are a few simple steps that will make it easier.
  • You have to learn to not judge yourself or feel guilty when you make a mistake, and instead focus on developing a plan to get back on track as quickly as possible.
  • Slipping up on your habits doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you normal.
  • Best of Tim Ferriss [80/20ies]
  • Not-To-Do Lists, Drugs, and Other Productivity Tricks
  • Tim admits that he is bad at efficiently doing stuff (doing things quickly) but much better at identifying the effective things to do.
  • One important rule: What you do is so much more important than how you do it! Doing something well doesn’t make it important.
     8 steps to identifying the most effective stuff:
  1. Wake up at least an hour before you need to be at the computer screen
  2. Make a cup of tee or coffee and sit down with a pen and paper
  3. Write down 3 to 5 things on a post it note (limited space to be constrained) that are making you most anxious (often things that you put off, most important often means most uncomfortable, if you don’t know what is most important ask yourself what is making me feel most uncomfortable? That’s the one to tackle first!)
  4. Ask yourself about the 3 to 5 things each if I only were to accomplish this one thing, would I feel satisfied with my day? Second question: moving this one thing forward would this make the other things redundant (irreverent), less important or another thing easier to be done? Is this thing a multiplier?
  5. Look only at the things you said yes to (should limit your list down from 3 to 5 to 1 or 2)
  6. Block out 2 or 3 hours to focus on one of them (one single block)
  7. Don’t freak out if you get distracted or interrupted and be harsh to yourself. Just pick up where you left things and continue to work. If you freak out, you set a downward spiral in motion. Stay calm.
  8. Gently come back. Meditation helps to come back. If you have 10 things, nothing gets done. If everything is important, nothing Is important. You can easier handle one important item.
  • Not-To-Do Lists
  1. Don’t answer phone calls from unknown numbers
  2. Don’t do email first thing in the morning (10am ok, but get Sth important done before) and last thing at night (work offline in the morning)
  3. Don’t agree to meetings without clear agenda and end time (don’t meet for more than 30 minutes (use agenda and goal/question) nicely request these things: “to best prepare and make best use of our time”
  4. Don’t let people ramble, no room for small talk, politely guide them by saying: “hey, what’s up. I am right in the middle of something but what’s going on…” It’s not about not making chit chat in your free/enjoyment time but your work time don’t allow distractions!
  5. Don’t check email constantly, batch and do email (delegate, answer or set task) at specific times (not more than twice a day). Set a strategic autoresponder. (Check his post on email!)
  6. Don’t overcommunicate with less profitable and most complaining costumers (do 80.20 customer analysis, fire them instead, again it’s about a good life and not pleasing everyone!)
  7. Don’t work more to fix overwhelm (again it’s a form of laziness. It’s the easiest option. It’s not lateral thinking.) prioritize instead. If you don’t prioritize anything, everything seems important. Define the most important task of the day and practice the art of letting bad things happen. If you don’t have time, you don’t have prioritize!
  8. If you can’t decide what your priorities are, you don’t have a clear focus and a clear understanding where you want to go and what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it and how you want to achieve it.
  9. Discover your values and strengths
  10. Define your ideal lifestyle and design it accordingly. What is important to you? Why? Schedule time for these things in advance!
  11. Don’t carry a phone 24/7 (take one day off weekly, leave it at home when you go for dinner)
  12. Don’t expect work to compensate for the fun activities you should do (work isn’t everything in life). It’s great to have periods of high work intensity, to gain momentum it’s actually recommended, but after a sprint allow yourself time and space to breath, to relax and take time off (it recharges your mental and emotional state) … Don’t tell yourself: “I just get it done this weekend!” Apply Parkinson’s law.
  • Reminders for post it notes
  • Being busy is a form of laziness
  • Being busy is often used to avoid the uncomfortable but non avoidable actions!
  • Remember everyone feels shitty (even the best of the best!) don’t overestimate the best and underestimate yourself!
  • The Choice-Minimal Lifestyle: 6 Formulas for More Output and Less Overwhelm
  • The choice-minimal lifestyle becomes an attractive tool when we consider two truths:
  1. Considering options costs attention that then can’t be spent on action orpresent-stateawareness.
  2. Attention is necessary for not only productivity but appreciation. Therefore:
  • Too many choices = less or no productivity
  • Too many choices = less or no appreciation
  • Too many choices = sense of overwhelm
  • 6 formulas
  1. Set rules for yourself so you can automate as much decision-making as possible
  2. Don’t provoke deliberation before you can take action.
  • One simple example: don’t scan the inbox on Friday evening or over the weekend if you might encounter work problems that can’t be addressed until Monday.
  1. Don’t postpone decisions or open “loops”, just to avoid uncomfortable conversations
  2. Learn to make non-fatal or reversible decisions as quickly as possible.
  3. Don’t strive for variation — and thus increase option consideration — when it’s not needed. Routine enables innovation where it’s most valuable.
  4. Regret is past-tense decision making. Eliminate complaining to minimize regret.
  • Best of David Allen [80/20ies]
  • Read my 2-minute book summary on GTD.
  • Best of Ramit Sethi [80/20ies]
  • In this video, Ramit covers more than the latest life hacking tools. You’ll find deeper material on psychology and the reasons some people are able to be highly productive while others get distracted…frustrated…guilty…and nowhere.
  1. Mistake: Trying to do it all ourselves
  2. Mistake: Neglecting the importance of energy, and willpower
  3. Mistake: Feeling like you have to be productive all the time
  4. Mistake: Not doing honest assessments of our performance
  5. Mistake: Productivity porn
  • Over to you
  • As I was toooooo obsessed with my Ego, I didn’t follow others. I didn’t ask for help. I tried to figure out everything by myself. Now, I know that it’s stupid. For being successful, I must ask for help. I must be vulnerable. I learn best with others — based on their experiences. Not just blogs, but conversations.
  • How do you learn best? Which experts do you trust?
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