How To Organize Your Day For Success

The most successful people are immersed minute-to-minute in the way they become successful. With small scheduling tweaks, could we all do the same?

How To Organize Your Day For Success

Author-entrepreneur David Kidder gave Inc. a definition of success that we can all act upon:


(Success is) when you have discovered your innate gift or proprietary contribution to the world and you are spending all your time in that strength and almost none of your time in your area of weakness.

Kidder, who wrote The Startup Playbook–which surveys the patterns of success of Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, and other über-successful folk–has himself founded three companies, including enterprise accelerator Bionic. His definition supplies us with a (perhaps idealized) compass for the way we schedule: If the task plays to our strengths, we’ll go after it; if we’re playing to our weaknesses, send it elsewhere.

It’s the same principle that governs better decision making:

Making sense of where our strike zones lie and only going after pitches we can hit. When we know where our strengths are, we can organize our workdays around those–and send the other tasks elsewhere.

This sort of language is familiar in entrepreneurial settings. When we talked with GitHub CEO Tom Preston-Werner, he told us about why his startup organizes around people who have found their strengths:

The productivity of a person who’s working on something that they care about, not only the productivity but the quality and the enjoyment level of a person that’s working on something that they care about, something that they’re generating ideas for, is so much higher than someone who’s not, and in fact that person is probably going to generate ideas that the person who’s forced to work on something would never generate, so you can’t even define a multiplier.

The task for us, then, is to find ways to incorporate that into our own workings lives.


Playing with strengths

The most successful people find what they can be 10 times better at than anyone else, Kidder says, and only do that. That level of specificity sounds fetching–even blissful–but how do we build that into our lives?

By keeping an empty schedule: The better we protect our time, the more we own it.

By delegating well: If someone on your team has a wheelhouse that you don’t, send the pitch their way.

By automating the boring parts: Get more value out of less effort by outsourcing unsavory stuff to software.

Do you have another focus-getting hack? Let us know.

Hat tip: Inc.


[Image: Flickr user Chase Elliott Clark]

About the author

Drake Baer was a contributing writer at Fast Company, where he covered work culture. He's the co-author of Everything Connects, a book about how intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational psychology shape innovation.