Richard Branson’s six secrets to productivity

by Rob Rawson
Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson is one of the most respected entrepreneurs on the planet and has started over 400 companies. He did all of this despite the fact that he has dyslexia.

What are the secrets to his productivity?

1. Exercise

Richard’s number one “secret” to greater productivity is to keep fit and exercise. Exercise increases energy levels, helps you to sleep better and improves your focus and concentration. Richard actually often gets up early at 6am to run, which is pretty amazing for someone 60 years old!

2. Keeping lists

Richard believes in always keeping track and organizing your tasks and ideas in lists.

I have always lived my life by making lists: lists of people to call, lists of ideas, lists of companies to set up, lists of people who can make things happen. Each day I work through these lists, and that sequence of calls propels me forward.

3. To be productive you should love what you do

Focus on activities that you enjoy and are a really good at. Try to delegate or outsource everything else.

I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living.

4. Don’t get the lawyers or accountants involved too early

Richard believes in following a vision and then finding a way to make it happen. Don’t spend unnecessary time on legal and accounting strategy first. Instead set your vision, take action then adjust your strategy and figure out the details as you go.

I never get the accountants in before I start up a business. It’s done on gut feeling

5. Hands off delegation

This is an obvious one for Richard. Running 400 companies it would be absolutely impossible for him to handle the details himself. Although not to the same degree, the same principles do apply for smaller businesses.

You must understand the art of delegation. I have to be good at helping people run the individual businesses, and I have to be willing to step back. The company must be set up so it can continue without me.

6. Set big audacious goals

So you accomplished all your tasks for the day, were you productive? Possibly not. Productivity is not about accomplishing a list of tasks. It’s about achieving the big important tasks that make the biggest difference in your life. The concept of trying to keep control of everything in your life and to get everything finished is potentially LIMITING to your productivity.

Instead aim high and focus on the few things that make the biggest difference in your life. If you aim high then even if you fall way short of your goal you will still accomplish a lot more than if you never set audacious goals in the first place.

My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them.

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