How Highly Successful People Manage Time - Deepstash

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How Highly Successful People Manage Time

  • Highly successful people don’t have a to-do list, but they do have a very well-kept calendar
  • Surprisingly, the simple act of scheduling tasks on your calendar, instead of writing them on a to-do list will free your mind, reduce stress, and increase cognitive performance.

I try to reserve the morning for doing "real work." I find I can focus more in the morning whereas it's harder to get focused after having been bombarded by meetings, so I try to save meetings for later in the day.


Key concepts to managing your life using your calendar

  • First, schedule a chunk of time for everything that is important to you; this is called “time blocking” or “time boxing.
  • Second, important items should be scheduled as early in the day as possible. No matter how much we try to control our time and calendars, we all have things that “come up” that might need our attention.
  • Third, don’t cancel goals; reschedule them if necessary.
  • Fourth, treat your time-blocked calendar entries as if they were appointments with your doctor; they are that important.

Use a calendar and schedule your entire day into 15-minute blocks. It sounds like a pain, but this will set you up in the 95th percentile as far as organization goes. If it's not on the calendar, it doesn't get done. If it's on the calendar, it gets done no matter what. Use this not just for appointments, but workouts, calls, email blocks, etc.


Tom Ziglar is the CEO of Ziglar, Inc.

Invest the first part of your day working on your number one priority that will help build your business. Do this without interruptions—no email or text—and before the rest of the world is awake.


When you master the practice of time blocking, using your calendar instead of your to-do-list. You can literally see your life’s priorities by looking at your weekly calendar.


Why not use a to-do list?

The key point is not to use a to-do list as your primary time management tool. Items on a to-do list can sit there forever, constantly getting bumped by things that seem urgent in the moment. And having this list of things that still need to get done is the root cause of our underlying stress.

How get motivation?

Ultimately, if we aren’t jumping out of bed in the morning excited to tackle our project, it’s because our dreams aren’t big enough. They aren’t motivating enough. And motivation comes down to pain and pleasure. For the tough tasks you always tend to procrastinate, think about and even visualize the “why” behind them. 

  • What pleasure will I get by doing this thing? 
  • What pain will I feel if I don’t do it?

Jeff Weiner Time Blocks Buffer Time

In Jeff Weiner's calendar, there is a host of time slots greyed out, but with no indication of what's going on. The grey sections reflect "buffers,"

He schedule between 90 minutes and two hours of these buffers every day. It's a system, he developed over the several years in response to a schedule that was becoming so jammed with back-to-back meetings.

At first, these buffers felt like indulgences. But over time I realized not only were these breaks important, they were absolutely necessary in order for me to do my job.

Procrastination fighting technique

Others choose to do the most unpleasant tasks early in the morning in what’s known as the “eat the frog first” strategy. It’s a procrastination-fighting technique that says if you have something unpleasant to do, just get it out of the way first thing. This is good advice if it defeats procrastination,

How successful people think about time

What I discovered is that highly successful people don’t prioritize tasks on a to-do list, or follow some complex five-step system, or refer to logic tree diagrams to make decisions. 

Actually, highly successful people don’t think about time much at all. Instead, they think about values, priorities, and consistent habits.

Beat Procrastination

To beat procrastination once and for all, you have to understand it. You don’t procrastinate because you’re lazy. You procrastinate because:

  • You lack enough motivation.
  • You underestimate the power of present emotions versus future emotions when you set your goals or make your task list.

Higest Productivity Hours

Dan Ariely, a Duke University professor of psychology and behavioral economics, suggests that most people are most productive and have the highest cognitive functioning in the first two hours after they’re fully awake.

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Time management is the process of planning and controlling how much time to spend on specific activities. Good time management enables an individual to complete more in a shorter period of time, lowers stress, and leads to career success .