4 Productivity Hacks Used Every Day by Famous Leaders and Top Executives

No matter what you do in life and what your job is, whether you’re a student, successful businessman or even a small shop owner, we as humans in one point of our lives feel like we can achieve greater things and always strive for more.

Now more often than not people who work hard and put a lot of effort in their carrier, job or hobby do seem to get demotivated when things don’t go as planned or think that they can do better but just don’t feel like it or don’t know how to start.

Luckily for us, there are people who have done great things to shape the world in the way we know it today and using their techniques of progress we can achieve great things too. But first we need to ask ourselves – what do those famous leaders know that the average person doesn’t and how do they utilize their knowledge in day-to-day life?

1.     Wake up Early

It goes without saying that if you want to be more productive you need to free up more of your time and the best way to do this is to wake up early, and I’m talking about 5 a.m. early. Napoleon back in his day used to do this and some sources say that he went to sleep very late and woke up at 4 a.m. every day.

Now I know that the time of Napoleon is over for more than 200 years now, but famous leaders still do it today like for example:

  • Elon Musk, owner of Tesla and Space X – wakes up at 7 a.m.
  • Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple – 3:45 am (sounds a little extreme but hey – the early bird gets the worm).
  • Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group – 5 a.m.
  • Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google – 6:30 a.m. (I usually try to wake up at the same time).

In my experience, in the range of 7 to 8 a.m. is still considered early, but past 9 or 10 a.m. is a bit late if you are thinking of waking up early mainly because those extra 1 or 2 hours you spend in bed can be spent in a lot more productive way and will benefit your life more in the long run.

Studies have found that people are more productive in the morning when it comes to reading and doing their work as a result of having more time to deal with other things later and doing the important things right when they wake up.

2.     Reading

There is no better way of spending your free time than reading books, newspaper articles or anything you can get your hands on, books being the favorable choice. It’s not only super productive but also very good for your overall knowledge.

When you read books you get a sense of peoples’ emotions, feelings, thoughts and challenges which the writer wants to portray in his work and you imagine in your head the story behind it which makes you more creative and helps you have an overall grasp of how the world works.

One of the biggest readers out there when we talk about famous leaders is Bill Gates. The founder and owner of Microsoft, not to mention a multi-billionaire is actually a huge book-worm and in one of his interviews for Quartz, he said that he spends about an hour at least before going to sleep actively reading novels, fiction and whatever Bill Gates can his hands on.

He also stated that he even writes down notes for books he’s really keen on reading to sort of know what’s actually going on in the book, but you don’t have to do this unless you have as much as free time as Bill Gates.

Try to read a little every day, I usually read from 20 to 50 pages and if I have some spare time I even read 100 pages but I also have a lot of reading to do for college so I try to keep that habit up. Just don't let the reading distract you from doing actual work, do the reading as a way to relax when you do actually have spare time.

3.     Making a To-Do List

Steve Jobs, the former founder of Apple used to write down the best 3 projects for his company disregarding all others for the purpose of simplifying an already complex life. You can use his hack in your daily routine by writing the most important tasks for the day in your bullet journal or a simple checklist.

By doing this, you are making a sort of To-Do list and selecting the things that you need to do that need to be done immediately – paying the bills, causing you stress, for example, finishing that important assignment, or things that you find to be more important than others.

This will make you more focused on the tasks you need to accomplish that day and also will stop you from forgetting them, besides there is nothing more satisfying than crossing out the tasks you’ve done at the end of the day, trust me on that one.

I use this method for my bullet journal and it works like magic because I always know what I need to do during the day, I have everything written down so I don’t forget and can look back at them later to see my progress and just feel proud how many things I’ve achieved at the end of the month.

4.     Don’t Waste Your Time

Warren Buffet, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and one of the richest people alive today once said: “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” What he meant by that is that you need to invest your time in the right things and find out how to prioritize the things you want to do in order to be what you want to be in life.

For example, the owner and founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg eliminated TV from his life because he believes it’s a waste of time to sit in front of a screen and watch movies all day and instead you can do something productive which will make the time well spent.

We aren't even sometimes aware of how much time we spend on things that aren't important to us and how to even organize our time for our personal growth and benefit.

What you need to do in order to stop wasting your time is:

  • Stop hanging out with losers – we all have that one or more friends who just like to do nothing and waste their time, you don’t have to cut them out of your life just don’t spend as much time with them.
  • Stop spending time on social media – they are great for keeping up with the world, but too much use leads to you not using your time for the real world.
  • Stop procrastinating– as Shia LaBeouf nicely put it: “Just do it!”.

That being said, you need to take a hard look at what are the things that you do that waste your time and how to eliminate that from your life and do something else instead, and by following Zuckerberg's example you can replace television with a book like we already talked about.

Follow Your Dreams

Now that we’ve explained some hacks used every day by famous leaders, what’s important for you to understand from all of this is to use them to your advantage and try setting a goal you want to achieve in life and surely these hacks will help you accomplish that.

Remember that not all leaders started out as such, they had to put in a lot of work to become the people they are now and with all that ambition they evidently had to make great sacrifices also. Stop doing the things that you think are holding you back from your dreams and be persistent in following them.

You may not feel like it today, but do know that tomorrow is a whole new day and you can start being the person you want to be in any given moment, the earlier you start moving forward the closer you will be to making your dreams a reality.

Final Word

I know that some of these hacks are easier said than done but if you really want to change your life to the better you must at least try them and see what works for you. There are many hacks out there but I’ve just singled out some that are quite easy to implement in your day-to-day life so you can be more productive right at the very beginning.

What you should try is to explore the behavior of these famous leaders and learn not only what they do on a regular basis but also some of the decisions that they’ve made which had a positive impact on their career and success in order to know what to do if you happen to be in the same position.

Now go out there and do your best to implement everything we talked about today in your life and be ready for the success and progress to come on its own.

Guest post courtesy of Martin Luenendonk

Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue 16 Media.

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