Kevin Kruse is on a mission to “convince everyone that wholehearted leadership for employee engagement is the key to unlocking both dramatic business results and to better health and relationships for individuals.” Through his company, LeadX, an online learning platform that provides free leadership development courses, he hopes to ignite 100 million leaders around the world over the next 10 years. The site is geared towards helping people become better managers and will teach you how to double your productivity.
Kevin is also a New York Times bestselling author and a keynote speaker. He travels the world delivering speeches on entrepreneurship, productivity, and leadership. A seasoned CEO and founder of several, multi-million dollar technology companies, we think he probably knows what he’s talking about.
We asked Kevin to share his own personal daily habits and productivity secrets. Read on:
What does the first 90 minutes of your day look like?
My hour of power begins with the mundane: feeding the cats and making coffee. I then do about 20-30 minutes of yoga stretches and HIIT treadmill. I then spend a few minutes meditating and think of my personal mission, three things I’m grateful for, and my daily intents around Health, Wealth, and Relationships. A powerful question or journaling exercise is to ask yourself, “What am I willing to do today to become the person I want to be?”
What’s your number one productivity/time-saving tip?
Throw out your to-do and put EVERYTHING on your calendar. Schedule, don’t list. Yes, GTD has bad advice on this topic.
Any favorite tools?
Even though I’ve been called by some people “the most productive man alive” I’m a minimalist when it comes to tools. Primarily I use Google Calendar, Word for writing my books, and we use Basecamp for internal company communications.
How often do you check your inbox?
I have a system I call 321Zero. I process email three times a day (morning, noon, and night), and set my timer for 21-minutes each time, and the goal is to achieve inbox zero by the end of the day.
#1 Email tip?
Shut off your email notifications and don’t check email, process it. Schedule times to process email just as you would any other task.
What’s the biggest hindrance to your productivity? How do you combat it?
One of my fatal flaws is in the area of sleep. Sleep is a weapon. Sleep is the fundamental ingredient to having a productive, high-energy, day. And yet, it’s tough to go to bed early when you are helping teenagers study, having date night with the girlfriend, or just can’t wait to watch the next episode of your favorite Netflix show.
When you lose focus, what do you do to regain it?
I’m constantly asking myself, “What is the #1 thing I could do to make progress on my long-term goal?”
What have you learned from your failures?
When I launched my first company, in my 20’s, I thought it was all about the hustle. Eight hours a day wasn’t enough, so I worked 18. Five days a week wasn’t enough, so I worked 7. No time for healthy meals, workouts or sleep. One day at 5:30 in the morning I got pulled over by a state trooper. He asked if I knew why he pulled me over. “Speeding?” I guessed. He explained, “I was driving 55 in the slow lane when you pulled up on my bumper. Then you pulled around me and took off!” The thing was…I never even saw him. I was so tired, so not present, my mind was thinking of my to-do list and consumed by the day’s stress. I literally pulled up to the back of a well-marked state trooper car and then sped around him without ever even noticing. That was my low point. How productive could I truly have been when I was that friend mentally? Hard work is OK, but there is a point of diminishing returns.
What’s your definition of productivity?
Achieving the most important tasks in minimal time, and with zero stress.
In the last 5 years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
I was a huge to-do list maker all my life, but after interviewing over 200 self-made billionaires, millionaires, Olympians, and even straight-A students I discovered that for EXTREME productivity, you just calendar EVERYTHING. It has changed my life, and I get emails from strangers every day telling me it’s changed their lives too.
What’s the best advice you can give our audience?
Life is about making an impact, not making an income. Yet, ironically, the more of an impact you make–the more value you add to others–the more wealth you will create for yourself. It’s inevitable. Too often we go through our days, years, and even entire lives living like robots pre-programmed by our parents, by our friends, by society. We must pause and really think about, what are my values? What do I value in life? What do I truly want? Once you are clear on those questions, you need to allocate your 1440 minutes a day accordingly.
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