Productivity Lessons from 5 Famous Entrepreneurs

If you run your own business or are thinking about jumping into entrepreneurship any time soon, you’ll need to adopt some habits that will keep you motivated and productive for the long haul. It’s easy to be excited and motivated about a new idea or project at the beginning but many entrepreneurs find that they lose momentum when they start running into challenges or things don’t work out as planned. Being disciplined with your time and knowing how to prioritize tasks — all while delegating certain responsibilities and leading your team — will help you stay productive and excited about your venture in the long term.

If you’re looking to maximize your time while getting your business off the ground, I recommend borrowing from these five productivity lessons of famous entrepreneurs:

#1: ‘Win Your Morning’ with the Right Priorities

Tim Ferriss, author of ‘The Four-Hour Workweek,’ is an expert on productivity. He provides dozens of insights and tips on saving time with the goal of limiting your actual work hours to just four hours per week. While this may not be realistic for the average entrepreneur, Ferriss is a big proponent of eliminating unproductive tasks from the daily routine so you avoid the busy trap. In his podcast, titled ‘5 Morning Rituals That Help Me Win The Day,’Ferriss explains that he focuses only on three things he can accomplish in the first 60 to 90 minutes of the day to ‘win his morning.’

#2: Theme Your Days

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and Founder of Twitter, explains how he manages his time effectively while staying productive in this video interview. Dorsey says that being very disciplined about his time and ‘theming’ his days helps him stay focused even in the middle of interruptions. He will focus on the core activities for either company for that entire day so that he can be more efficient with his time. You could ‘label’ each day in your calendar to give it a theme so you know what to focus on for that entire day.

#3: Look for the Signal, Not the Noise

In our hyper-connected world, it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘noise’ of daily life and Internet activities. From constant social media updates to day-to-day interruptions, it takes seconds to lose focus and fall off task. Elon Musk is no stranger to working hard and going the extra mile. In this commencement speech, he recommends ‘focusing on signal versus noise.’ While his point refers to companies looking for strategic ways to grow and thrive, it can also be applied to productivity. Are you easily distracted and spending your energy on keeping up with the ‘noise’, or are you focusing on improving yourself and performing better than ever?

#4: Stay Physically Fit

During a Virgin Unite fundraising trip to Necker Island, Richard Branson took a break to share some tips about staying productive. He says that keeping the endorphins going with regular exercise and keeping the brain active helps him, ‘achieve twice as much in a day’ than he would otherwise. Whether this means getting up earlier for a morning walk or committing to the gym a few days a week, making your health and fitness a high priority can help you stay productive.

#5: Do Fewer Things…Obsessively

Focusing on only one thing at a time is the key to success, according to Evan Williams, the co-founder of Blogger, Twitter, and Medium. He also emphasizes how there are so many distractions in our daily lives and few will actually lead you to success. He recommends that everybody ‘Do fewer things’ and focus on one task at a time with a laser-like focus. This echoes Elon Musk’s signal vs. noise tip, a decision to cut out the unnecessary and stay focused on only the most important activities or projects in any given day.

Being a successful entrepreneur is linked to how well you manage your days at the office and your personal priorities. Many famous entrepreneurs believe in a minimalist approach, focusing on only the most important tasks and being mindful about how and where they spend their time. Use some of these tips to stay productive and motivated during even the most challenging times.

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