10 Leaders and the Surprising Ways They Stay Productive

Article of Inc.com (follow the link to read all)

Jana Eggers: TRAIN FOR AN IRONMAN (or Pick Up a Challenging Hobby) 

While Eggers, co-founder of SureCruise.com, former Intuit exec, and now SVP at Blackbaud, acknowledges that grueling triathlons aren’t for everyone, she advocates any activity that kicks your butt. “Forcers,” as she calls them, require smart time management. “I recommend anything that requires focus and discipline…they are good skills to reinforce.” A fulfilling hobby, says Eggers, can also be a healthy distraction from the day-to-day grind. And it need not be physically grueling. “It can be cooking, gardening, singing…just something that you can focus on and master. The important thing is…pick something big and be dedicated to it.”

Ram Shriram: Keep a Diary 

The angel investor and founding Google board member says the best way to improve personal performance is to track it in a daily diary. In a 2005 comment toBusiness 2.0, he explained that the point is not to beat yourself up for mistakes—a counter-productive exercise if there ever was one—but to create a kind of manual for what has worked and what hasn’t in your business. “Documenting it ensures we’ll always remember it.”

Richard Branson: Work Out! 

As head and tireless spokesman of the Virgin Group and its 200 or so affiliated companies, this ebullient entrepreneur is an expert on multitasking. His number one tip for maximizing productivity: exercise. In Tim Ferriss’ 2010 book The 4-Hour Body, Ferriss recounts a visit to Branson’s Necker Island, where he quizzed the mogul on how to become more productive: “Branson leaned back and thought for a second…then he broke the silence. ‘Work out.’ He was serious and elaborated: working out gave him at least four additional hours of productive time each day.”

Stephen King: Above All Else, Be Consistent 

In his 2000 autobiography, On Writingthe legendary author offers straightforward advice to aspiring scribes: Write every day. Ideally, strive for 1,000 words, but however many you can manage will suffice so long as you do it each day. King himself writes at least ten pages every day—weekends, and holidays included. While King is not your typical entrepreneur, he is a paragon of productivity. He has published 49 novels that have sold over 350 million copies.

Larry Page: Fire Your Assistant 

One of the Google cofounder’s goals as reinstated CEO is to restore a start-up sensibility to the search giant. That means flattening bureaucratic structures and maximizing opportunities for face time. To that end, Page is encouraging employees to trade offices for open floor desks and ditch intermediaries. Page toldWired in a 2011 profile that he and Brin abruptly decided to get rid of their assistants after they found themselves scheduled in too many undesired meetings. “Most people aren’t willing to ask me if they want to meet with me,” he says. “They’re happy to ask an assistant.” Anyone who wants his attention, now has to approach him.