How 3 Tech Superstars Mastered Personal Productivity
Find what works for you, whether it be 180-hour workweeks or sharing your calendar with everyone you know.
Those of us who choose the path of entrepreneurship are usually attracted to the freedom of living life on our own terms. However, with this freedom comes greater responsibilities -- particularly in terms of how you manage your time.
Without a boss breathing down your neck every day, you need to summon your own motivation if you want to be a successful entrepreneur. Unfortunately, until you’ve mastered personal productivity, you’re always going to be susceptible to distractions such as social media.
More than 90 percent of adult Americans spend between 15 and18 hours on Facebook per month, which roughly equates to two full workdays. This is ironic, since the mastermind behind Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is one of the most productive people on the planet.
While it’s impossible to perfectly replicate the revolutionary thinking of tech entrepreneurs like Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey, we can definitely learn a lot from them in terms of maximizing our personal productivity levels.
Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX and Tesla, is known for his machine-like work ethic. With a significant daily dosage of caffeine, Musk has been known to work 100+ hour workweeks for years on end.
When Musk wakes up every morning at 7, after six hours of sleep, his first task is to take care of high-priority emails for half an hour. Email is his preferred method of communication since he can respond at his convenience, rather than in real time.
Since Musk packs so much into his days, removing himself from real-time communication wherever possible helps his schedule to move smoothly. He's known to multitask a lot, running meetings during lunch breaks and playing with his children while firing off text messages. By breaking his calendar down into 5-minute blocks, he’s constantly looking for ways to optimize his time and be more productive.
While his personal life hasn’t always run smoothly as a result of long hours and managing multiple businesses at once, I guess this is a sacrifice you have to make when your primary mission in life is to colonize Mars.
Dorsey is primarily known as the brains behind Twitter, but he simultaneously runs Square, a mobile payments company. Unsurprisingly, Dorsey works extreme hours in order keep his two Goliath tech companies highly profitable.
In order to kickstart his arduous 18-hour workdays, he has a masterful morning routine in place. After waking up at 5 am, he meditates for half an hour and then performs a rigorous 7-minute workout, three times repeated. Next, he gets his first caffeine fix of the day and gets to work.
While this sounds a bit crazy, a writer for Business Insider, Anisa Purbasari, followed his morning routine for a week and found substantial improvements in her mood and productivity levels -- although she still considers Dorsey a special breed of human for being able to consistently do 18-hour workdays.
Another productivity hack we can learn from Dorsey is theming our workdays. He uses Mondays for management, Tuesdays for product focus, Wednesdays for marketing and communications, Thursdays for developers and partnerships and Fridays for company culture and recruiting. He takes Saturdays off and uses Sundays to prepare for the next week.
This is a significant contrast to Musk’s multitasking strategy, but it works for Dorsey.
Facebook’s head honcho, Zuckerberg is known for his relentless drive in pursuing goals. One trick we can learn from him is to remove things that take up time and don’t get us closer to completing our objectives.
For instance, Zuckerberg's closet only contains gray T-shirts and gray hoodies. By eliminating unnecessary clothing choices early in the morning, he shaves a few extra minutes off his incredibly busy schedule.
Zuckerberg is diligent with setting clearly defined, measurable goals for his company. However, this habit carries over to his personal life too. When he wanted to learn Mandarin, he set it as a yearly goal, and when he wanted to program an AI system for his home, that was another yearly goal. In addition to setting these goals, Zuckerberg posts them on his Facebook page for millions of people to see. This gives him a level of accountability that most people can’t relate to -- so he’s continually motivated to achieve whatever goals he sets.
If you’ve got some audacious goals this year, I recommend sharing them with as many people as you can. The extra accountability will help you to achieve extraordinary heights.