Who could have been busier than the chairman of Virgin, the President of the United States, or the CEO of Apple?
You have the same 1,440 minutes every day as the busiest people in the world. So, what do they do differently than you, what can you learn from them, and how can you improve your time management?
Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group, is successful with his time because he manages every minute of his time every day, even his exercise. Here are just a few ways he’s said he manages his time:
I learned to delegate from a young age. Actually removing myself from the office has helped me look for the next big venture. I try to exercise every day–whether it is a swim, a game of tennis or a kite-surf when on Necker island. Manage the BlackBerry, don’t let it manage you. The key is to do it in bursts and not to let it dominate your day. Speak to people–I do get a lot of emails every day and try to answer as many as I can; but I also believe that you need to speak to people. It can save you and them a lot of time. And write it down–I carry notebooks wherever I go to jot down thoughts and notes. You can’t beat pen and paper.
If we read into what Branson was saying here, it was essentially that you need to manage everything: your projects (delegation), your health (exercise), your communication (phone calls, emails, and speaking to people), and your memory (use notes).
Dwight Eisenhower, former U.S. president, said, “Most things which are urgent are not important, and most things which are important are not urgent.”
Eisenhower was a man who was supremely organized at all times. Not only was he the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961, but prior to that he was a five-star general in the U.S. Army during World War II. Among other amazing accomplishments he served as supreme commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, he oversaw the successful invasions of France and Germany from 1944 to 1945 from the Western Front, and in 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO.
Many people use the Eisenhower Method to manage their time successfully today. In this method, all tasks are evaluated using the criteria important/unimportant and urgent/not urgent and put in quadrants accordingly.
Apple Founder and CEO Steve Jobs believed “Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
Jobs was known for simplifying things. When he returned to Apple in 1997, he took their 300 products and reduced them to 10. This saved Apple from bankruptcy.
In his personal life, Jobs decided to wear the same outfit daily so he wouldn’t have to spend time thinking about his wardrobe.
By learning to delegate more, managing your emails, dealing with the urgent, and learning to say “no,” we can successfully manage our time and still have some time to exercise and enjoy life.
—Chris Gaborit is a serial entrepreneur who has built three successful companies without seed funding. For most of his life, Chris has traveled the world inspiring ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things. He believes that within every person is a destiny and calling that can be realized, released, and remarkable. He is cofounder of The Learning Factor, an outsource training company that delivers leadership training to Fortune 500 companies globally. Chris regularly writes for The Sydney Morning Herald, LinkedIn, and FastCompany. Find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.