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Here's The Schedule Very Successful People Follow Every Day

Before we dive into the details, let me express my gratitude to all of you for making my first book a Wall Street Journal bestseller. If you haven't had a chance to check it out...


Before we dive into the details, let me express my gratitude to all of you for making my first book a Wall Street Journal bestseller. If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, click here.

Productivity tips are everywhere these days, but what we truly need is a system that works. So, what schedule do successful people follow? What does science say about how to be most productive?

The key lies in feeling in control and aligning your energy levels with the importance of each task. Let's bring together the expert ideas and research we've discussed into a cohesive schedule that you can apply to your own day. Grab your calendar, because we're about to make some changes.

The Morning Ritual

In studying the schedules of high achievers, Laura Vanderkam discovered that almost all of them rise early and have a morning ritual. Waking up before the chaos of the day begins allows you to determine what's important and focus on it. According to research, having concrete goals correlates with increased confidence and a sense of control.

"People who construct their goals in concrete terms are 50 percent more likely to feel confident they will attain their goals and 32 percent more likely to feel in control of their lives." - Howatt 1999

Moreover, having a morning ritual sets the right mood for the day. That feeling of control leads to grit and persistence.

"Research comparing students of similar ability finds that those who express a sense of control receive scores that are a full letter grade higher than those who do not." - Mendoza 1999

So, wake up early, set your goals, and take control of your day.

Important Work First Thing — With No Distractions

Many people make the mistake of diving into emails and meetings as soon as they arrive at the office, leaving important tasks for later in the day. However, research shows that our brains are sharpest 2.5 to 4 hours after waking up. So, why waste this precious time on mindless activities?

"Studies show that alertness and memory, the ability to think clearly and learn, can vary by between 15 and 30 percent over the course of a day. Most of us are sharpest some two and a half to four hours after waking."

To make the most of your peak cognitive hours, Jason Fried suggests finding a quiet place to work, away from distractions. If this isn't possible in your work environment, consider getting in early or working from home before heading to the office.

Regroup When You Slow Down

We've all experienced afternoon brain fog. Instead of forcing yourself through it, take a break, grab a snack, or even take a power nap if you can. Afterward, it's beneficial to have a mini-version of your morning ritual, where you review your goals and the progress you've made. Harvard research shows that appreciating your progress is one of the most motivating factors.

"Comparing people who tend to give up easily with people who tend to carry on, researchers find that persistent people spend twice as much time thinking, not about what has to be done, but about what they have already accomplished, the fact that the task is doable, and that they are capable of it." - Sparrow 1998

Meetings, Calls, and People Stuff in the Afternoon

When your energy levels are high, it's the perfect time to tackle creative, challenging work. Scott Adams, the creator of "Dilbert," says that he does his best creative work in the morning. By the afternoon, when his brain feels fuzzier, he shifts his focus to less demanding tasks.

Research also suggests that the afternoon, specifically 3 PM, is the best time for meetings. Interestingly, distractions can actually be beneficial when doing dull tasks. Having friends nearby, even if they're not helping, can increase productivity.

A Relaxing Evening

While successful people often work long hours, they understand the importance of taking time to recharge in the evening. Before dinner, Tim Ferriss recommends writing down your big goal for the following day to shift your focus away from work and allow yourself to relax.

When it comes to reducing stress, research shows that activities like exercising, spending time with friends and family, and engaging in active hobbies are more effective than passive activities like watching TV or playing video games.

Lastly, don't neglect sleep. Cutting corners on sleep can have negative effects on your cognition and overall well-being. World-class performers prioritize getting enough rest to maintain their boundless energy.

Sum Up

To summarize, a successful schedule looks like this:

  1. Your Morning Ritual: Rise early, set concrete goals, and take control of your day.
  2. Important Work First Thing — With No Distractions: Prioritize important tasks during your peak cognitive hours.
  3. Regroup When You Slow Down: Take breaks, review your goals, and appreciate your progress.
  4. Meetings, Calls, and Little Things in the Afternoon: Focus on creative work when your energy levels are high and utilize distractions for dull tasks.
  5. A Relaxing Evening: Take time to recharge, engage in active hobbies, and prioritize sleep.

Remember, not all moments in your day are equal, and not all tasks carry the same importance. Knowing when to tackle each task can make a significant impact on your success and overall well-being.

So, let's implement these strategies and do the things that matter, and do them well. You may not check off everything on your to-do list, but you'll feel satisfied knowing that you've focused on what truly counts.

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