Four rules to manage your time like Steve Jobs

This post is dedicated to all the people that have more things to do, more projects to make than time to make them. And for all the people that feels overwhelmed by number of things to make, or feels un-effective, or unbalanced. As their time is so valuable, they often get distracted a lot by others – this helps them reclaim some of that because other’s know anything they ask of a colleague is tracked.

This is very personal for me as a CEO of TimeCamp. I was making notes for 4 years about time management and and it seems that when I clean them up it nicely compiles to those main four simple rules!

Take your time to do right things

“In your life you only get to do so many things and right now we’ve chosen to do this, so let’s make it great.” – Steve Jobs

You can read about 2000 books in your lifetime. If you will live 80 year, you will have 29200 days in this world. In every day you have about 14 productive hours. You will never have time, you must book time for it, prioritize it, simply. Greatest successes in business have come from one trait of being tenacious to the point of obsession on the most critical things. Focus is nothing more than eliminating distractions.

Everybody wastes time, focus on being effective=doing right things, instead of being efficient=doing things well. Prioritizing in relation to urgency doesn’t work. Which of problems are really problems – do you need to fix all, or only flat tire, not broken mirror, identify the most terminal problem and focus on it. Choose the most important tasks each day. Before you try to do it faster, ask whether it should be done at all. Don’t do things others can do. Don’t do things that are not in priority strategy or priority projects for a goal for this moment. Administrative tasks after 16:00. To operate at your highest level of contribution requires that you deliberately tune in to what is important in the here and now. Every night before you go to bed you should say to yourself, what one thing could I do to make progress on …. Find three things and double down. Start your day by planning what you need to get done. Remember also that if you will touch a lot of projects, no project will be done. Working in constant pressure is not ok. Feeling anxious and overwhelmed is not ok. See the value of having data, and using it to improve themselves. Morning question: What good shall I do this day? Evening question: What good have I done today? 3 things I’m grateful for? How could I make my yesterday better? Start thinking every week, if you didn’t spend too much time on unimportant things.

Story about Steve Jobs and doing right things

Jonathan Ive: Steve Jobs was the most remarkably focused person I’ve ever met in my life. And the thing with focus is, it’s not this thing you aspire to, or you decide on Monday, ‘You know, I’m going to be focused.’ It is a every minute, ‘Why are we talking about this? This is what we’re working on.’ You can achieve so much when you truly focus. And one of the things Steve would say — because I think he was concerned that I wasn’t, heh, — he would say, ‘How many things have you said no to?’ And I would have these sacrificial things, because I wanted to be very honest about it, so I said no to this, and no to that, but he knew that I wasn’t vaguely interested in doing those things anyway, so there was no real sacrifice. What focus means is saying no to something with every bone in your body think is a phenomenal idea, and you wake up thinking about it, but you end up saying no to it because you’re focusing on something else…. the third one actually reflects poorly on myself. I was having a conversation with him and I remember asking him why it could have been perceived in his critique of a piece of work he was a little bit too harsh. We’d been putting out heart and soul into this. I said, couldn’t we be a bit more, couldn’t we moderate the things we said? And he said, ‘Well, why?’ And I said, ‘Because I care about the team.’ And he said this brutally brilliantly insightful thing, what he said was, ‘No Jony, you’re just really vain.’ ‘Oh.’ ‘No, you just want people to like you. And I’m surprised at you because I thought you really held the work up as the most important, not how you believed you were perceived by other people.’ And I was terribly cross because I knew he was right.

Stop constantly reacting and be proactive

Firstly take care of the first rule from this article. Later read this: The most positive results can be from things that you don’t have to do. And yet, when we arrive at this vaunted point, the masses of people (often rightly) incessantly knocking on the door, one after another, causes far more stress than when you were a mere peon (sp)! [I was unsure of spelling] Is it because of the 100x more inbound, which decreases a feeling of self-directed free will? A feeling that you’re constantly choosing from someone else’s buffet instead of cooking your own food? Or is it because you *feel* you must be defensive and protect what you have: time, money, relationships, space, etc.? For someone who’s “won” through a lifetime of offense, of attacking, playing the defensive game conflicts with the core of who they are. Be idle from time to time, it’s a starting point to be proactive and set new directions to improve. Part of the key to time management is carving out time to think, as opposed to constantly reacting. Makes time to disconnect and recharge.

Don’t dry your willpower energy

You have limited daily willpower energy and you have limited daily thinking energy. Studies shown that after using your willpower later in a day people starting to make bad decisions, because they have lower willpower and thinking energy.

Be aware of emotions and feelings

If you are mentally overwhelmed or anxious by things you want to do, without feeling that you miss something else: recognize that you are missing something else always when you make a decision. Decision = “to cut off,” from de- “off”. Do you regret making that decision? Please don’t. You shouldn’t judge your success based on outcomes by themselves.

Tips & tricks

  • Make a list of top 3 priorities for today
  • Move your ass and exercise or stand up every hour
  • Check email twice a day
  • Listen to one song over and over again (it’s like mantra)
  • Medidate
  • Screen free saturdays
  • Read two books Get Things Done and Essentialism
  • Schedule time to think
  • Batch similar activities
  • Google: “time managements tips & tricks” and be overwhelmed 🙂

Other resources

Four rules to manage your time like Steve Jobs

One thought on “Four rules to manage your time like Steve Jobs

  1. This is a brilliant summary of time management – thank you for reminding me of the most important thing – that is, the most important thing!

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