One of the greatest lessons I learned was taught to me by Harry Truman when he said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
Successful people in all walks of life understand the true power of reading. Unfortunately, early on in my career, I didn’t really get it. I had attended prestigious private schools from grade three and got into Pitzer College without much effort so I figured getting a job wouldn’t be tough. Turned out I was wrong.
One thing led to another and I found myself starting my career as an English teacher for kids, a far cry from a Fortune 500 employee which I felt was in the cards. That’s life for you. Just when you think you have everything worked out, life throws you a curveball.
Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined I’d be teaching little kids, but there I was, singing the ABC song a few times a week. Looking back now I just have to laugh. I surprised myself because I found I was pretty good at teaching kids, but in the end, it wasn’t enough. I wanted more out of life.
I decided a job wasn’t for me and decided to take control of my own life, opening a franchise and later going into business with a partner. That’s when things got interesting. The partnership got off to a rocky start and I realized I was not equipped to build the business so I turned to books. I’ve never looked back.
Books helped me go from an English teacher to Asia’s premier productivity expert. Our ever-changing world depends us to constantly upgrade our skills and keep abreast of trends in our industry by absorbing huge amounts of information. Two hours a day is barely enough time in the day for the average CEO to deal with the massive amount of information in front of them.
Here are 5 productivity hacks every CEO, entrepreneur and student can use to acquire information faster allowing them to get more done each day.
#1 Speed reading
The most obvious hack on this list. As my mentor Jim Rohn is famous for saying, “Don’t wish for less problems. Wish for more skills.” Reading is a skill and it can be improved. While there are any number of books on the topic, I would recommend attending a weekend course. A small investment of time and money upfront that will pay off big later on saving you hours and hours.
#2 Book summaries
Book summaries are the modern day equivalent of Cliff Notes for CEOs and entrepreneurs. Let’s face it. You don’t have to read every book to get the most out of it. Every book has filler – information that could be left out. Personally when I read a book, I highlight the heck out of it, jotting notes down along the side as I go. Then after I finish, I transfer the important information to a digital file. Who says you have to do all that though. If you’re strapped for time, and have the money, why not let other people do that job for you. Then all you have to do is read an 8-page summary of each book. A surefire way to get 95% of the valuable information contained in the book without all the heavy lifting.
Thanks to technology, you don’t even have to read books anymore. Use audible on your phone and transform your commute into productive time. Replace Taylor Swift and Beyonce with Jim Rohn and Stephen Covey. Fill your mind with ideas on your way to and from work. As Brian Tracy says, “Turn your car into mobile university.”
All the best athletes in the world have coaches. Roger Federer, widely considered tennis’ GOAT (Greatest of all time), hired Stefan Edberg to coach him back in 2013, yet Federer has gotten 14 more grand master titles than his coach. We all need a little help.
Mentors have been there and done that. They know what books to read and what books you can skip. It’s not talked about by most time management experts, but knowing what NOT to do is one of the greatest time saves there is.
Podcasts are a great source of information on pretty much any topic you can imagine. Looking for marketing ideas, check out I Love Marketing, want to be inspired, try Entrepreneur On Fire. You can find interviews with some of the greatest minds in your field and they have often read all the books, meaning they’ll be able to share their greatest tips and secrets.
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