Here are some surprising ways a few of the big chiefs stay so productive:
• Drop what you’re doing and sleep. Think you don’t have time to rest? Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group, oversees a web empire but still finds the time. She says, “My single most effective trick for getting things done is to stop doing what I’m doing and get some sleep.”
• Fire your assistant. Google CEO Larry Page found that he was being scheduled in too many undesired meetings. His solution? He fired his assistant. “Most people aren’t willing to ask me if they want to meet with me,” he says. Now, anyone who’s too chicken to ask doesn’t get face time.
• Be consistent. Known for writing every single day, author Stephen King recommends that young scribes aim for producing 1,000 words every day. He produces more, at least 10 pages daily, including weekends and holidays. As a result, he has published 49 novels.
• Pick up a challenging habit or train for a triathlon. Says SureCruise.com co-founder Jana Eggers, “Forcers” (any activity that kicks your butt) require smart. “I recommend anything that requires focus and discipline …they are good skills to reinforce.”
• Give people half the time they request. As a former Army captain, Gary McCullough values crisp efficiency. Now he’s CEO of Career Education Corp. “My assistant asks people, ‘How much time do you need?’ If they say an hour, we cut it in half. If they say 30 minutes, we cut it to 15, because it forces people to be clearer and more concise.”
• Focus on handshakes, not contracts. Says magician and entertainer Penn Jillette, legalese-filled contracts are a waste of time: “The more experience I got in show business, the less I read contracts. Now I don’t bother. If I can’t make the deal in a phone call, and have them understand it, then it’s not a worthwhile deal.”
— Adapted from “10 Leaders and the Surprising Ways They Stay Productive,” Devon Pendleton, Inc.