Home » featured

Productivity Tips from the world’s most successful managers and CEOs

Everyone of us is struggling with the ongoing flood of information (especially email) and is trying to keep ahead of these endless lists of things to-do’s.Here is a list of various executive and statements how they are getting things done:Bill Gates, Founder Microsoft: How I Work

On my desk I have three screens, synchronized to form a single desktop. I can drag items from one screen to the next. Once you have that large display area, you’ll never go back, because it has a direct impact on productivity.

Marc Andreessen, Founder Netscape: Marc Andreessen’s Guide to Personal Productivity

One of my all-time favorite guilty pleasures is indulging in productivity porn. Productivity porn (or, for those really in the know, “productivity pr0n”) consists of techniques, tactics, and tricks for maximizing personal productivity — or, as they say, “getting things done”.

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault (France) and Nissan (Japan): How I Work

Stress builds up when you know that there is a problem but you do not clearly see it, and you do not have a solution. We’re all human. I want to assure you I feel the same pain and the same stress and the same jet lag as anybody else. You have nights when you cannot sleep, and the stress is unbearable. It happens to every single person in a job like this.

Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Product and User Experience at Google: How I Work

I don’t feel overwhelmed with information. I really like it. I use Gmail for my personal e-mail — 15 to 20 e-mails a day — but on my work e-mail I get as many as 700 to 800 a day, so I need something really fast.

Howard Schultz, Chairman, Starbucks: How I Work

I get up between 5 and 5:30, and naturally the first thing I do is make some coffee; depending on my mood, it’s either an espresso macchiato or one of our Indonesian coffees in a French press. I’ll take my coffee, read three newspapers — the Seattle Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times — and listen to a voicemail summarizing sales results from the past 24 hours. This has been my routine for 25 years.

Vera Wang, CEO, Vera Wang Group: How I Work

My bedroom is my sanctuary. It’s like a refuge, and it’s where I do a fair amount of designing — at least conceptually, if not literally. I spread out on my side of the bed, and I may be looking at books to get ideas, or just thinking things through.

Hank Paulson, Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs: How I Work

I’ve never used e-mail, but I’m a huge voicemail user. I do a couple hundred voicemails a day. And I return every call right away, whether it’s a client or someone in the firm. There are positives and negatives to this. I don’t have a lot of time for small talk.

Bill Gross, Chief Investment Officer, Pimco: How I Work

The most important part of my day isn’t on the trading floor. Every day at 8:30 A.M., I get up from my desk and walk to a health club across the street. I do yoga and work out for probably an hour and a half, between 8:30 and 10. There’s only been two or three times in the past 30 years when someone has come across the street and told me I should get back to the office. One of them was the 1987 market crash.

John McCain, U.S. Senator (R-Arizona): How I Work

I read my e-mails, but I don’t write any. I’m a Neanderthal — I don’t even type. I do have the rudimentary capability of calling up some Web sites, like the New York Times online, that sort of stuff. No laptop. No PalmPilot. I prefer my schedule on notecards, which I keep in my jacket pocket.

Jane Friedman, CEO, HarperCollins: How I Work

Really, I have to admit: I’m an e-mail addict. It keeps me connected to work even when I’m not at the office. I do about an hour of e-mail in the morning after I’ve skimmed the newspapers. I usually have to go out for lunch, but I hate it. I’d rather have lunch at my desk and read though e-mails between meetings.

Brian Aker, Dir. Architecture, MySQL: How I Work

I set my email to retrieve every 30 minutes, and I am thinking about changing this to just once an hour. Email is a huge distraction, and I would rather concentrate on it in batch. I also delete any email that is still in my inbox after 30 days.

Mike Olson, VP, Oracle: How I Work

I believe that most organizations want to be flat, and if you can communicate freely and broadly — blogging, by IM, in email, on the phone, and (not to forget!) face to face — you’ll get much more work done and find much more capable collaborators.

Peter Yared, CEO, ActiveGrid: How I Work

For startups, it is very simple: keep everyone aligned towards the same goal. It is fine if the entire ship is moving in a slightly wrong direction, because you can adjust it. But if different groups and individuals are off doing their own thing and arguing with each other, it is a complete disaster.

Dave Rosenberg, The Yeti of Open Source: How I Work

I work distracted. I need to have multiple things going on in order to get to a few bursts of productivity. I have yet to find a PIM, online or off that satisfies my needs. I usually break things into the following categories, which are pretty obvious: To-do, Calls, Notes, Pipeline.