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Richard Branson's top productivity trick is a simple habit that has nothing to do with email or to-do lists

Sir Richard Branson walks up Cottesloe Beach after arriving by kite surfer.
Paul Kane | Getty Images

Between running a multi-billion dollar empire, attempting to head to space and updating his blog multiple times per day, Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson, gets a lot done.

His top productivity trick is a simple habit that has nothing to do with making to-do lists, checking email or turning off notifications: "The only reason I'm able to do all the things I do and to keep on top of a busy schedule without getting too stressed is because I stay fit," the billionaire entrepreneur writes on his blog.

Making time for exercise, he says, doubles his productivity.

"If people are feeling their best, they will be their most productive selves at work," writes Branson. Plus, there are other benefits: "I find exercise the most natural and effective mood booster there is."

If people are feeling their best, they will be their most productive selves at work.
Richard Branson

Science backs him up: Studies show that exercise can help you out professionally by improving memory and mental sharpness, reducing stress and even promoting creativity.

Branson, who prefers playing tennis, kite-surfing and lifting weights, dedicates at least an hour a day to working out. "Many people say they don't have the time for exercise, and you're right, you don't have the time unless you make the time," he says. Make it a priority, he encourages, because "there is nothing more important than looking after yourself."

He's not the only highly successful individual who makes time for exercise.

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"Staying in shape is very important," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a Q&A on his social media site. "Doing anything well requires energy, and you just have a lot more energy when you're fit."

Oprah Winfrey, Mark Cuban and Alexa von Tobel are among other top business leaders who prioritize fitness.

To make it a consistent habit, find easy ways to fold exercise into your routine, says Branson: "Go for a walk around the park with a friend instead of going to the pub, find the health club closest to your house, join a team sport. ... There are so many options — try a few and see what sticks."

Don't miss: Richard Branson wakes up at 5 a.m. every morning—here's his daily routine

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Sir Richard Branson walks up Cottesloe Beach after arriving by kite surfer.
Paul Kane | Getty Images
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