Time Management Tips from Successful People Might Not Help You

I recently wrote a post called “Time Management Tips From Successful People” and included some pieces of advice on time management from well-known and successful people such as Warren Buffett and Richard Branson.

I did this because I believe that if you are successful, there must be something you’re doing right when it comes to managing your time.

However, there is an important caveat when it comes to advice from “the Rich and the Successful” and that is: it won’t necessarily work for you.

We all look to others for inspiration sometimes – and that’s fine.

It reminds us of what is possible when maybe our own dreams and goals seem out of reach. It gives us something to aim for and something to believe in.

It helps spur us on in our own endeavours.

But there are a couple of things you need to consider when listening to the advice of the successful.

The first one is survivorship bias.

Survivorship bias is an interesting concept. If you have not heard of it before, there is a nice, detailed explanation here, but it is basically when someone makes a decision based on past successes, but ignores past failures.

This may lead you to the conclusion that because Mr Successful says he did X, Y and Z and succeeded, then this is a good model to follow.

But the reality might be that 99 others did exactly the same thing and failed.

So, while the advice from Mr or Mrs Successful may have some merit, we have to be clear that it does not guarantee success.

We also need to look at everyone who tried to do the same thing and was not successful.

What did those who failed have in common?

The other thing we should consider is the fact that successful people are often talking about their habits and the secrets of success from the position of someone who has already attained their goals, which makes it easier for them to implement their advice.

For example, Warren Buffett has frequently cited the importance of saying ‘no’ to almost everything in order to keep time free to think and to read.

For sure, this is an important way to spend your time – but only if you are someone in his position that has already achieved everything he has.

Check out this post: How To Say ‘No’ >>>

If you’re some newbie entrepreneur, hustling your way to making it big, spending five hours of your day reading and strategizing is not going to be the most effective use of your time.

At this point, you’re going to need to be hands-on and working long hours on the stuff that results in progress.

Or how about Elon Musk’s five-minute time-blocking strategy?

Time blocking is for sure, a really useful time management strategy that I am sure can benefit many of us.

And the five-minute time-blocking thing is quite an extreme version of that. It can work for Elon Musk and he has the luxury of being able to work in this way, because he’s the boss of the companies he has built.

But working in this way is not going to be practical for the average employee.

Gary Vaynerchuk admits he is not great at time management.

Gary Vaynerchuk claims he is not great at time management and so hires someone else to manage his time for him. He would not have been in the position to do this when he was starting out, so it’s not necessarily advice that will apply to your own situation.

Time Hack Hero Takeaway

If you want to be successful at something, it is natural to look to someone that has achieved success in that area for advice. They have walked the path, so it seems to make sense.

However, you also need to consider that lots of different paths lead to the same destination and also the path that the successful person took was right for them at that time and led them to where they wanted to be.

But that is not to say it would have been the right path had they tried to walk it earlier or later.

This whole discussion can become very philosophical, but I would say that the bottom line is, tips from the “Rich and Successful” may have some value, but on the whole, they should be taken with a pinch of salt, because most of the time, it’s advice from someone who has lived a very different set of events.

By all means, try them and use them as a source of inspiration and motivation, but don’t assume that by following the same blueprint as someone successful that success is also guaranteed for you.

It’s not.

There are so many other factors in play, one of which is also luck.

Successful people want to believe that they got to the place they are in now because of their hard work, the choices they made and the actions they took, not because of chance or luck.

They will want to believe that they made their own luck.

Luck of the dice
Luck is a factor / pxfuel

And that may be partly true, in that they did everything that was in their control well, which resulted in their success.

However, there will have also been many seen and unseen external factors that were completely out of their control and worked out in their favour. Like being in the right place at the right time.

That is about luck.

A lot of the time, life comes down to chance, but many people resist that notion because the inherent implication is that we have no control.

But that’s ok.

Even if a lot of life comes down to chance, that doesn’t mean you should stop trying.

And if getting up at 5 am works for one successful person, it could also work for you. But if you’re not one of those who can get up at 5 am, that does not make you lazy, it does not mean you’re poor at time management and it does not mean you can’t be successful. It simply means that this kind of routine does not suit you.

Check out this post: Tips For A Great Morning Routine >>>

From a scientific perspective, perhaps it doesn’t match your sleep chronotype. So ditch that strategy and try something else.

When it comes to success, how you manage your time will only be one piece of the puzzle.

So, as far as taking advice on time management from successful people is concerned, give it a go, but don’t assume it will also work for you.

As I have mentioned before, there is no one-size-fits-all solution or ultimate hack. You’ve just got to try different stuff and see what works.

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