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11 ways to be more productive, according to Chance the Rapper, Jane Goodall, and more

Here’s how 11 dynamic and efficient leaders go about spending life’s most precious resource.

11 ways to be more productive, according to Chance the Rapper, Jane Goodall, and more
[Photo: Mauricio Alejo]

Twenty-four hours. That’s as much time as any of us get in a day, and yet some people are better than others at squeezing the most out of it.  Here’s how 11 dynamic and efficient leaders go about spending life’s most precious resource.

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1. “Life goes on, and you have to form new goals.”

—Chance the Rapper
The musician and cofounder explains his strategy for making decisions quickly and maintaining work-life balance. Read more here about how Chance aspires to a different kind of productivity.

2. “Care passionately.”

—Jane Goodall
The primatologist and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute shares her tips for staying motivated, even in the face of climate change (and traveling up to 300 days a year).

3. “I’ve learned to give things my full focus, even if it’s not the thing I want to be working on.”

—Bryan Stevenson
The founder and executive director of Equal Justice Initiative and author of the memoir Just Mercy (and executive producer of the new film adaptation) explains how he’s learned to prioritize while drawing strength from those who came before him.

4. “I have a very intense Tweetdeck situation.”

—Natasha Bertrand
When you’re a national security correspondent for Politico, you need to stay well ahead of the news, though she admits that it’s “probably a recipe for burnout.”

5. “I always know what I need to be doing.”

—Lisa Lutoff-Perlo
The president and CEO of  Celebrity Cruises on why it’s often easier to just complete a task than sit down and make a to-do list.

6. “I try and think about the fact that I worked my entire life to be in this position.”

—Naomi Osaka
The professional tennis player opens up about keeping negativity at bay, even after suffering a tough loss on the court.

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7. “ABC. Always Be Creating.”

—Dav Pilkey
When he was growing up, the author and illustrator of the Captain Underpants and Dog Man graphic novel series was always getting into trouble. “They didn’t have the term ADHD,”  he says. But that time sitting out in the hallway was a blessing—it allowed his artistic side to blossom.

8. “I pretty much know my schedule for the whole year.”

—Idris Elba
The actor, director, producer, and DJ juggles a lot, around the world. Seeing the big picture makes time-zone jumping more sustainable.

9. “I have three bikes in my office.”

—Frank Yang
The founder and CEO of Simplehuman is inspired by bicycle mechanics. They also give him “a sense of freedom.”

10. “Every night I send myself an email with the subject line: ‘rocks.'”

—Ron Gagliardo
It sounds weird, but the senior manager of horticulture at Amazon uses it as a reminder to separate the important “rocks” on your to-do list from the gravel, which can get in the way of productivity.

11. “You have to be kind of crazy.”

—Gabriela Cámara
The restaurant business can be unrelenting, especially when you’re shuttling between five of them. Nonetheless, the chef, restaurant owner, and cookbook author says that the experience has an upside: It makes you an excellent problem solver.

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