6 Secrets on Productivity from Branson

One of my by business idols is Sir Richard Branson, whom I have had the pleasure of meeting.  My close friend Joe Hollingsworth has spent a week with him on his private island in the Virgin Islands and heard many interesting stories.  What makes him really stand out to me is that he has started over 400 businesses and has had great success with many of them.  He also has dyslexia, which resonates with me because so do I.  Some may see this as a handicap, but I see it as one of the reasons he has achieved much success.  If you would like to understand more about why, read my blog on my experience with dyslexia.

In a recent article, “Richard Branson’s Six Secrets to Productivity,” I found some important truths that I would like to share:

1)      Exercise.  It is key to having the energy to be productive.  It is difficult to fight the good fight in your business life if you are not keeping yourself fit and energized.

2)      Keep lists.  He says, “I have always lived my life making lists:  lists of people to call, lists of ideas, lists of companies to set up, lists of people that can make things happen.”  I love that last one!  If you are around me at all, you will hear me say to my team, “Let’s make things happen!”

3)      Love what you do.  This cannot be emphasized enough if you are going to be productive.  You need the passion that only loving what you do will bring into your activities.  Branson says, “I don’t think of work as work and play as play.  It is all living.”

4)      Don’t get the lawyers or accountants involved too early.  It slows down the action.  Make things happen and don’t waste unnecessary time in this area until the vision and strategy are thought out, and things are moving forward.  Figure out the details as you go.

5)      Step back and delegate.  Hands-off delegation is important to Branson because he wouldn’t be able to handle all 400 companies and the details that go with them.  He says, “I have to be good at helping people run the individual businesses and I have to be willing to step back.”

6)      Set up big audacious goals.  This way, even if you fall a little short, you have accomplished significantly more than you would have otherwise.  Also, pay attention and focus on the few things that make a real difference.

These all sound so simple, but they are really not that easy to implement.  Think about just half of those points:  Delegate, focus on a few things, and exercise.  It’s not easy to let go of things when you, as a gung-ho entrepreneur, really want to take control and push to make them happen on your own.  Most of us business types have an attention deficit brain and find it hard to focus on just a few key things.  We are all busy and know we need to exercise, but do we build a routine around making sure we actually do it?

Great thoughts!  Now, we all need to just go Make It Happen!

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One thought on “6 Secrets on Productivity from Branson

  1. Amazing facts!
    I would also like to share the following steps which I have learned to bring more productivity:

    1. Turn off all technology for 60 minutes a day and focus on doing your most important work.
    2. Work in 90 minute cycles (tons of science is now confirming that this is the optimal work to rest ratio).
    3. Start your day with at least 30 minutes of exercise.
    4. Don’t check your email first thing in the morning.
    5. Turn all your electronic notifications off.
    6. Take one day a week as a complete recovery day, to refuel and regenerate (that means no email, no phone calls and zero work). You need full recovery one day a week otherwise you’ll start depleting your capabilities.
    7. The data says workers are interrupted every 11 minutes. Distractions destroy productivity. Learn to protect your time and say no to interruptions.
    8. Schedule every day of your week every Sunday morning. A plan relieves you of the torment of choice (said novelist Saul Bellow). It restores focus and provides energy.
    9. Work in blocks of time. Creative geniuses all had 2 things in common: when they worked they were fully engaged and when they worked, they worked with this deep concentration for long periods of time. Rare in this world of entrepreneurs who can’t sit still.
    10. Drink a liter of water early every morning. We wake up dehydrated. The most precious asset of an entrepreneur isn’t time – it’s energy. Water restores it.
    11. Don’t answer your phone every time it rings.
    12. Invest in your professional development so you bring more value to the hours you work.
    13. Avoid gossip and time vampires
    14. Touch paper just once.
    15. Keep a “Stop Doing List”.
    16. Get up at 5 am
    17. Have meetings standing up.

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