Tim Ferriss has made a career of distilling snackable bits of advice from his own personal productivity experiments. He's also become expert at observing these same hacks from any number of über-successful people in his expanding inner circle.
He has just released what inevitably will be his next bestseller, Tribe of Mentors. In this effort, Ferriss zeroes in on this idea that you can learn from and even copy this set of über-achievers. He handpicked 100 individuals to study, learn from, and distill these success hacks. Time management has always been on page one of Ferriss's mind: He wrote the book The 4-Hour Workweek and clearly believes that the low-hanging fruit for improving human effectiveness is a better use of the 24 hours we're granted each day.
While some of his time-management advice has focused on the tools you can use to become more efficient, Tribe of Mentors focuses more on the habits of people who have seemingly mastered their calendars.
In a recent promo video for the book's release, he covered a simple, four-point plan that he claims is a game changer. This plan to grab ahold of your day from the get-go is designed to create focus on the most important things first. As Ferriss has matured, his advice has steered toward changing habits versus employing simple hacks. That shift is reflected in this list as he suggests trying this method for a solid week.
"You can always go back to what you were doing before," he says.
So, here's his advice on prioritizing your day. It all starts first thing in the morning.
When you create a long to-do list, many times your top priorities are nested within a longer list of items that are far less important. You can spend the whole of the day busy, but fail to tackle the most important items, which in many cases are the hardest things on your plate. So isolate the one or two most important things you need to accomplish today. One or two only.
2. The Golden First Hour
Many studies have shown we're at our sharpest first thing in the morning. And as the clock creeps, distractions always show up, especially in our technology-tethered lives. So take this first hour to focus only on these important items. Avoid exposure to things you'll need to react to, like texts, emails, and Slacks. This first hour is yours and yours alone. Own it.
3. Move the Ball Forward
In this first hour of dedicated proactive focus, identify and reach a milestone on one or both of these top priorities, especially if this top priority is a tough one. Tackle it now. Make real progress. Create some momentum for the project and the day.
4. Make It a Habit
Try this plan for a solid week without wavering. Ferriss's approach here is to make this a habit, not an adrenaline shot.
Ferriss claims to have distilled this approach from a set of entrepreneurs who have experienced multiple multibillion-dollar exits. It's an approach that is simple. Simple, but not easy. This can be said for a handful of Ferriss's "hacks."
Prioritize your most important things. Create dedicated time to work them. Make progress. Make it a habit.