According to productivity experts, I do everything wrong.
I wake up at 7:30 a.m. and immediately roll over to check Instagram.
I don't meditate, do yoga, or drink exotic jasmine tea.
And it takes me about two hours from waking up to sit down to work.
Yet in 2016, my business grew to record numbers. We hit our revenue goals, created free guides to help people make money online, and even launched our first 500-person event in New York City.
I don't know about you, but reading most of the usual productivity advice makes me roll my eyes. Look, if waking up early and writing a gratitude journal works for you, great! Do what works.
But I suspect that most of the "experts" preaching productivity and meditation don't actually follow their own advice.
If you don't jump out of bed at 4:30 a.m. and start working by 4:45 a.m., there's nothing wrong with you.
Here are three tips that have worked for me, a guy who does everything wrong.
1. The 30-Minute Recharge
There was a year-long period in my business when I was completely overwhelmed. I was trying to answer every email and make myself available to everyone on my team, at anytime.
I thought this was just the cost of running a company ("I'm the CEO! The business would die without me!"). Eventually I realized this was just lazy thinking. It was easier for me to answer emails than learn to delegate parts of the business.
To solve this, I started carving time out for what I call Big- Picture Thinking. This started out as an extra hour in the morning and expanded from there. Today, I dedicate an entire day every week to Big-Picture Thinking.
Big-Picture Thinking immediately changed how I ran the company in two ways:
"Good for you, Ramit, but I don't run my own company! I can't just take a whole day out for thinking!"
So? Start with 30 minutes. Everyone can find an extra 30 minutes. But it won't happen unless you first carve the time out for yourself.
Imagine you take those 30 minutes to:
2. Remember everything, fast
I used to be able to remember all my friends' phone numbers. Now I can hardly remember five! And that's fine — phones do a better job than I ever could.
The same is true for all information. Maybe I want to remember this great shoulder workout I found on an obscure trainer's website, but I don't waste energy trying to memorize it now, either.
We're all cognitive misers, which means we need help getting information out of our heads and into mental buckets… that we can instantly recall when needed.
For example, if someone sends me an amazing recommendation for Indian food in London, I'm going to spend 3 seconds to put it in my "London" bucket. And the next time I plan a trip to London, I have an entire list of places to check out.
Here's how I do it:
3. Make a decision … and move on
One of my students once asked, "Which book should I read first? Book A or Book B?"
My answer: Whichever is on top! Pick one and start!
It took me a long time to really "get" this. Below the surface is the problem of perfectionism: We want to make "perfect" decisions, when in reality the choice doesn't matter.
In fact, simply making the choice to read consistently is more important than the books you actually read!
This happens all the time in everyday life. We:
Once you crack this code, you'll feel liberated from 90 percent of life's minutiae. Then you can focus on the 10 percent of decisions that will have a significant impact.
For me, instead of picking the "perfect" coffee shop or restaurant for business meetings, I have a list of three that I love — and pick one of those for all my meetings. Steve Jobs and President Obama famously wore the same outfit every day.
Look at the decisions you make on a daily basis: the TV you watch, food you eat, where you shop ... and automate anything that doesn't matter.
Ultimately, execution on one idea is worth more than 100 great ideas we never take action on. If you're interested in learning how to follow through on everything this year, read more here.
Ramit Sethi is a New York Times bestselling author and CEO of GrowthLab.com, where entrepreneurs go to launch and grow their online businesses. He spends his first five minutes of every morning checking Instagram.