I’ve interviewed highly successful people and have studied and taught time management. I’ve learned a little bit about how highly successful people manage their time.
1. Highly successful people don’t necessarily have a plan of where they are going to spend their time.
Does that surprise you?
I’m sure you’ve been told that you need to plan your work and work your plan. That you have to have a clear set of priorities and actionable items or else you’ll be working on less important things. Not so, according to most of the highly successful people I interviewed.
Instead, they have an internal sense of what they should work on at the time and they go for it. They don’t check it against a master plan, they don’t write it out and consider its weight against other priorities. They just take action on that thing.
2. Highly successful people aren’t fanatical with their time management.
Maybe another surprise.
Some people think that to be highly successful you have to be maniacally focused and disciplined, that you have to commit to success 110%. Interestingly, the people I interviewed were pretty laid back. Sure, they are intense about creating the business they want or doing a great job at something, but they also divide their interests. They’re not fanatically pursuing the one thing.
3. Highly successful people spend their time helping others.
All of the highly successful people I interviewed are givers. They give their time, talents, energy, and money to help others. They have charities, they were involved in volunteer work even before they made their money, they are interested in giving others a hand up. They don’t just give with money, they give with their heart. They spend time with people and causes who need it. They coach softball teams, take volunteer positions at church (some of which are more like a part-time job), and generally want to see the world become a better place. They spend their time creating that better world.
4. Highly successful people work hard almost all the time.
They work hard at building a business or being a great employee. They work hard in their volunteer positions. They work hard to make their relationships work. They work hard to raise their kids right. They work hard to be better people. They work, and they work hard.
5. Highly successful people spend time with those they love.
Highly successful people build positive relationships and spend time with those they care about, admire, and love.