Brian Tracy’s 5 Rules for Greater Productivity

Brian Tracy’s 5 Rules for Greater Productivity

Everyone wants to be more productive to feel more successful and to achieve their big goals in life. While many people have covered the topic of productivity, there is one person that is often overlooked because people don’t automatically think of him when you mention productivity and time management. This man is Brian Tracy. He has written numerous books on topics such as wealth building, success, and time management. Here is a collection of his quotes on productivity that will help you put things in perspective and teach you how to be more productive.

1. “A great life or a great career is built by performing one task at a time, quickly and well, and then going on to the next task.”

You might think multitasking is an efficient way of getting work done, but it’s not. Your brain is hard wired in way it can only focus on one thing at a time, so to maximize your productivity you want to single-task everything you do. Your focus is fragmented and not fully harnessed when you multitask. Just think of calling and driving at the same time, it can be done but it causes many accidents because people aren’t fully focused on driving. So whenever you get a task at hand attack it with laser focus and once finished, move on to the next one.

2. “Whatever you have to do, there is always a limiting factor that determines how quickly and well you get it done. Your job is to study the task and identify the limiting factor or constraint within it. You must then focus all of your energies on alleviating that single choke point.”

While there can be many bottlenecks for getting something done, one that stands out is often the person him- or herself. This quote especially goes for people who tend to do everything themselves. They think they are the best person to do it and have (sometimes unknowingly) anxiety of delegating tasks to others. You have to realize that you are not always the best person to complete a task and sometimes you are better off letting someone else do that work. Sometimes YOU are the bottleneck of getting things done. Fortunately this can easily be remedied by delegating and outsourcing.

3. “One of the most important requirements for being happy and productive is for you to guard and nurture your energy levels at all times.”

Most of us think that time management is only about how you control your time, but that’s actually not true. It’s also about managing your sources of energy that allow you to get work done, on a physical, emotional, and mental level. On a physical level, you want to be well-rested and fit. There is no way you are getting things done when you are physically tired. On an emotional level, you want the conductor of your orchestra of emotions. When you are experiencing a storm of negative emotions it is very hard to focus and working at the task at hand. Being able to bring out the best out of yourself, you need to feel good and have positive emotions guide you. Lastly, on a mental level, you must have the desire and willpower to work. Both are resources that are not unlimited and must be managed properly. Lack of mental energy is usually the precursor to procrastinating. However, when your physical, emotional, and mental energies are in sync that is when you have the most leverage to get work done. Start paying to your energy levels to be more productive.

4. “Once you have decided on your number one task, anything else that you do other than that is a relative waste of time”

Distraction is like kryptonite for productivity. If you can minimize, or preferably eliminate, any distractions that in itself will make you so much more productive. It is easy to get distracted when you feel like other things might be more important than what you are working on now. To avoid this type of distraction, you should spend some time on planning what you are going to do with your time. Before you start on any task, ask yourself “what is the most valuable use of my time, right now?” and really try to answer that question. Once you know what it is, work on it. Like Brian Tracy says, you’ve said to yourself that the task at hand is the most important so anything else that is coming your way is relatively not important. If you get anything on your plate while you are working, kindly defer and work on it later after you’ve finished your most important task.

5. “Your most important tasks and priorities are those that can have the most serious consequences, positive or negative, on your life or work. Focus on these above all.”

Something that is important has long-term potential consequences. It can change your life for the better and make a huge impact. However, that requires you to know what the possible consequences could be. You need to have a vision of the end in mind so it can motivate you to work towards it. The greater in clarity and positive impact it might have, the more likely you will get yourself in motion towards that end goal. You will less likely procrastinate when you know that completing “that one thing” could (positively) change your life.

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Thanh Pham

Thanh Pham is a productivity nerd and has a passion for making other people succeed in their lives. He writes on his blog about time management and productivity.

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15 Comments

  1. Thanks for this post, really helpful

    Reply
  2. fantastic post: very focused, very wise. moving concept into action is now the challenge

    Reply
  3. Hi !

    Brian Tracy is one the best and most accurate authors for self-help, setting and achieving goals, productivity and time management. I’ve been listening to his audio recordings over and over again and he’s one of my favorites. His information is absolutely brilliant and unlike other contemporaries of the personal development industry he is a delight to listen to. That ( just listening) would be nothing compared to the fact that his ideas and insights are practical and do-able and work.

    Thank you,

    Lilian

    Reply
    • I totally agree Lilian. The advice Brian Tracy gives out always has a practical angle to it and that’s why he is one of my favorite authors and gurus out there too.

      Reply
  4. This is great advice – I particularly like the point about keeping your energy up – when people have ‘no time’ it is often their exercise routing and cooking/eating properly that is pushed to the backburner. But these really have an effect on how we do everything ewlse, so should really be made a priority!

    Reply
    • Yes, a lot of people don’t realize that physical energy is the most important source of energy. For example, it sounds counter intuitive but exercising in the morning will give you more energy for the rest of the day.

      When it comes to food, the more raw and organic, the better. Junk food will make you crash a couple hours later because it has very little nutritional value. And of course it is not that healthy.

      Reply
  5. great compilation of rules Thanh, i liked the post so much :)

    Reply
  6. Hi !

    Brian Tracy is a great source of wisdom on wealth building, success and time management. So it comes as no surprise that he should be pretty productive himself. Of the quotes you have assembled, I like the following:

    1. “A great life or a great career is built by performing one task at a time, quickly and well, and then going on to the next task.”

    When we try to do many things at once, it is hard to do a good job for any one of them. But if we focus fully on the task at hand we are likelier to do it well once and for all. This ensures there are no loose ends and fewer mistakes to correct. It is definitely a better way to use our time and energy in a more productive manner.

    5. “Your most important tasks and priorities are those that can have the most serious consequences, positive or negative, on your life or work. Focus on these above all.”

    Being able to think ahead and anticipate the consequences of our actions is a very important life skill. All too often, we do things without thinking sufficiently far ahead and in the process, the consequences of our actions end up taking us by surprise. But if we are able to anticipate problems in advance, we can pre-empt them and this helps us to conserve our time and energy which we can put to better use.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article! :)

    Irving the Vizier

    Reply
    • Full engagement is the key to getting work done, task by task. Like you said, it’s better to do one task with full engagement than doing multiple thing half-ass.

      Knowing what the consequences are is often my motivation. If I know that doing all these X-steps I have ahead of me will reach me my BIG GOAL, it really motivates me to get work done. I like your take on it too where you talk about anticipate on future obstacles.

      Reply
  7. I happen to be one of those people that likes to do everything myself. I think that it is a responsibility thing; if something happens that I had pawned off on someone else it would be my fault. This also leads to productivity being stalled.

    Managing energy levels and getting proper rest and nutrition is something that I have been working on lately

    Reply
    • Justin, the way I see it is that when you delegate it is still your responsibility. It is your responsibility to ensure your person gets the work done. I used to see it like you too. When delegate a task you can blame the other person for not getting the project done. Rather, I want to take the responsibility so it gives me a better sense of control. You can have responsibility even when you delegate work to others.

      Reply
  8. Thank you for this insightful post.

    It is so easy to get distracted and lose focus without even realising it for a period of time. I suddenly realised lately that I could, sometimes get home from the office and feel like I hadn’t done anything with my day. I would sit and think about what I had actually done and it made me frustrated when I could think of very little that I had accomplished.

    I now have set times of the day to do specific tasks, such as emails and doing administration tasks so that I don’t go off track. It seems to be working!

    Thanks again,
    Cassie.

    Reply
    • That’s a great solution Cassie. I have set times too where I do certain tasks, like for email. Another thing that has helped me is actually tracking what I got done on a day. I use a task manager for this, but pen and paper work too (whatever you feel comfortable with).

      At the end of the day, I would look at my list and actually SEE what I got done. The data does not lie. Whenever I saw that I didn’t as much done as I thought, that would propel me to do better the next day.

      Reply
  9. as said above – a very insightful post and I do agree with all of the points above, however I’d like to make a point in defence of multitasking.
    yes, multitasking affects your productivity and acts as distraction, but on the other hand it can help keeping energy levels up. For me it also helps my creativity. when I get stuck doing task no 1, I get up and do task no 2 or 3 or whatever, preferably one that does not need so much focusing or something that needs physical exercise (e.g. going somewhere to fetch something or tidying up my desk) and then I can let my mind go into a different mode, unlock those creative juices and – voila! problem solved and I can get back to task no1 and complete it quicker and better.

    Reply
  10. Brian Tracy was the first “productivity guru” that I read in 2005. I really liked his books on goals, particularly “Maximum Achievement”.

    His books are always clear, well written with step by step techniques.

    Thanks for that awesome post Thanh! And nice quotes by the way! Is this from his books ?

    Whatever you believe with feeling becomes your reality. Brian Tracy

    Reply

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