Leadership

3 productivity tips you can learn from Jeff Weiner, Steve Jobs and Barack Obama

President Barack Obama contemplates the State of the Union in the Oval Office.
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President Barack Obama contemplates the State of the Union in the Oval Office.

Time is a scarce resource. We all juggle trying to get as much done without feeling overtaxed. Research has even confirmed that this ongoing struggle has more American workers feeling stressed than in years past.

Stress is a necessary evil in the workplace that some of the most successful individuals, including LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, the late Apple founder Steve Jobs and former president Barack Obama, have had to overcome.

What can they teach us about effective time management and finding balance? Quite a bit. Here are three tactics some of the world's busiest people have used to stay productive.

1. Schedule nothing

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner says if you look at his calendar, you will see periodic slots of nothing. These time slots, which he refers to as buffers, are moments that he carves out for himself so he can think strategically and proactively.

Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn
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Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn

"Part of the key to time management is carving out time to think, as opposed to constantly reacting," Weiner tells The Wall Street Journal. This allows him to sit down and process what is going on around him.

He says it also helps him strategize and work proactively to accomplish long-term goals.

2. Just say no

The late Apple founder Steve Jobs was a longtime proponent of saying no in order to streamline his work.

Simplicity and focus were key tenets to his business model, says Ken Segall, an advertising creative director who worked closely with Jobs, in an interview with Forbes.

Steve Jobs
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Steve Jobs

When Jobs rejoined Apple in 1998, he shrunk the company's product line from 350 products to 10 outstanding ones.

"You have to pick carefully," Jobs said to developers at the time. "Innovation is saying 'no' to 1,000 things."

3. Stick to a routine

Barack Obama now has a little more time on his hands, but at one point the leader of the free world relied on an established routine to get things done.

Obama began each day with an early workout and always ate and wore the same thing. "I don't want to make decisions about what I'm eating or wearing because I have too many other decisions to make," he says in a Vanity Fair interview.

The former president also had his staff deliver daily memos to him with checkboxes that read "agree, disagree or let's discuss," according to The New Yorker.

Now that he's out of the Oval Office, Obama can accomplish what he tells The New York Times he was looking forward to most: sleep.

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See also:

How not to stress about work when you're not at work

4 science-backed ways to feel less stressed at work

14 time-management tricks from Richard Branson and other highly successful people