Jeff Weiner, CEO of Linkedin, says that as a leader, it’s crucial to prioritize time in every workday to schedule nothing and to focus on thinking- he has a 90 minute to two hour daily block. If you’re stuck in the rut of the overwhelm of work, culture, and life, it can feel impossible to take a step back just to breath. Jeff believes that the act of reserving this time and dedicating time for contemplation, coaching, and strategizing is what has led to such tremendous success for Linkedin, which Microsoft recently purchased for $26.2 billion.
Jeff understands the power of human connection. He leads the largest professional networking site in the world of over 450 million professionals. Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember that the leader of a digital world, with a population larger than the US, in a society that is “always connected,” feels the most productive part of his day is derived from scheduling nothing. It’s only then that he’s able to tune in to what’s most important.
Cal Newport, Best Selling Author of “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” and “Deep Work,” argues that in order to focus your mind entirely, you must eliminate distractions. In fact, in order to master the hard things and produce at an elite level, the most important objectives for students and professionals today, he explains, one must focus on deep, uninterrupted work. While this seems self-evident and obvious, it’s rather profound upon consideration and personal application.
Cal, beyond being made famous by his books, has also been made famous by a rather extreme-sounding TEDx talk in which he argues against the use of any social media. He believes that social media distracts, distorts, and absorbs your mind’s attention, disabling your ability to think clearly and preventing the mind’s engagement.
To tune into life to be so good that others can’t ignore him and to do deep work, Cal argues, it is imperative to eliminate distractions.
At times in my life, I’ve been so engulfed in personal productivity that I’ve created and led trainings on the most important time management mechanisms, Eisenhower’s Matrix, Pareto’s Principle, and Parkinson’s Law- what I call the Big 3 productivity hacks. With Eisenhower’s Matrix, I organize tasks into buckets, knowing that the non-urgent but important bucket needs to be my primary focus. With Pareto’s Principle, I map out the 20% of my tasks that produce 80% of my results and prioritize those. And, lastly, with Parkinson’s Law, I underscore the truth that what I focus on expands to the time allocated to it, driving priority, focus, and time constraints to the most important tasks.
Jeff and Cal have obviously mastered productivity theory. It’s important to note, though, that each productivity hack also drives the same point. They all say the same thing in unique ways. In order to do great work, ignore distractions, focus on what’s important, and tune in to what’s crucial.
If you want to do great work, prioritize time to think and strategize, like Jeff Weiner. If you want to do great work, ignore distractions like Cal Newport. If you want to do great work, focus on what’s important and turn off everything else. This is the only way to tune in to life.