6 Minimalist Systems Billionaires Use to Remain Highly Productive and Save Time

All You Need is Clear Priorities

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As of January 2024, the number of billionaires is at 2,640, according to reports from Forbes.

That means you and I have a 0.0000345% chance of reaching that status for ourselves.

In other words, most of us won’t become billionaires.

That doesn’t mean you should shut them out and ignore them.

There’s plenty of general principles we can steal from billionaires to be more effective people.

For example, billionaires are known to be masters of effective time management.

They know time is their most prized possession, so they implement several minimalist systems to help them preserve theirs while moving them closer to their goals.

Though we may not have their wallets, we do have access to many of these minimalist systems they use.

Here’s 6 you could steal to become highly productive and save time:

1. Pay the premium for high-quality

Tom Corley is a financial planner and author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.

He spent five years studying some of the wealthiest people on the planet…

In his research, he discovered wealthy people were much more likely to purchase high-quality clothing and furniture over cheap stuff.

The reason he gave for why they do it was super simple: high quality lasts longer.

Cheap stuff almost always turns out to be way more expensive in the long run due to hidden costs such as frequent replacements and repairs.

It’s better to pay a premium for high quality than constantly spending time and money tending to cheap stuff.

You save resources by investing in quality.

I learned this firsthand when my car broke down…

At first, I took the car to a local mechanic who listened to the issue I told him and fixed what he thought the problem might be.

When he returned the car, it ran for a bit, then broke down again.

This repeated itself around three times.

Each time, I had to pay for the materials to repair the car and his workmanship.

On the fourth occasion, I took my car to a friend's mechanic…

He plugged it into a machine and got a complete diagnosis of everything wrong with the car.

It cost me considerably more to solve all the issues, but I haven’t been back since the repair.

Save resources by paying the premium for high-quality.

2. Build a capsule wardrobe

Mark Zuckerberg hit the headlines when he told interviewers he had a closet filled with the exact same T-shirt.

He explained his reasoning was to preserve his mental capacity for more meaningful decisions.

… And indeed, he was right!

Psychologists say our mental capacity is limited to regulate behaviors.

Making a decision drains our mental capacity because our brains must sift through tons of information while simultaneously undergoing intense coordination of executive functions and regulating our emotions.

According to research, as more decisions are made, the activity in brain regions involved in reasoning and decision-making is significantly lowered.

People in the upper echelons of society, such as billionaires, don’t have time to waste on decisions about what to wear.

While the odds are high that whatever they pick out will be of good quality, they don’t allow what they wear or how they look to consume too much of their mental resources.

Many follow in the footsteps of Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and John Paul DeJoria by assigning themselves uniforms they can wear daily to eliminate the need to make a decision.

If you don’t wanna be extreme like the Zuckerbergs of the world, another alternative is to build a capsule wardrobe.

This is a small collection of items that can easily be mixed and matched to create a decent outfit.

Sure, it may take a bit of brain juice to pick a combination, but it wouldn’t be as much as if you were starting from scratch every day.

3. Have an idea capture system

Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.

This is why British billionaire Richard Branson carries something to write with him everywhere.

In his own words, “An idea not written down is an idea lost. When inspiration calls, you’ve got to capture it.

We know Mr. Branson likes to do his idea dumps on paper because he once said, “I go through dozens of notebooks every year and write down everything that occurs to me each day,” but you don’t have to…

Apple released a new application called Journal in its latest software update, but before that, Notes has been a super effective tool I’ve used.

For context, I have a journal I write in every single morning, but since I keep my phone with me every day, and inspiration can strike anytime, I also log ideas on my phone using the Journal app.

Medium-specific and solopreneurship ideas go straight into Notion.

Since I’m engaging in business daily and use Notion as my business hub, I like to keep reminders and ideas somewhere I would see them often.

4. Plan days in advance

When running just two companies, Elon Musk disclosed that he spent up to 100 hours a week on each.

At the time, he had five (now eleven) children and was said to spend up to four days a week with them.

All this was on top of finding time for regular exercise twice a week, getting six hours of sleep, and personal hobbies.

When asked how he balances it all, Musk introduced us to his 5-minute rule time management method.

This strategy involves breaking your day into well-defined blocks, each dedicated to accomplishing specific tasks.

There was a lot of hype about it then, but the main message I got from it is to plan your day in advance.

Always know what you’re doing at all times.

Be conscious of where your time is going.

If you make this decision ahead of time, you save brain power, which enables you to use it for more important tasks.

I like to plan my day, in advance, around my most important tasks…

What I do is I lay out one to three objectives I wanna achieve for the day, then document what I must do to achieve them.

Next, I rank the objectives by importance: the most important gets done in the morning block, the next important task goes in the afternoon block, and my least important goes in the evening block.

These blocks are predefined, and all I do is fill them with activities.

5. Pay others to do low-impact tasks

No billionaire is truly self-made.

They all depend on a certain phenomenon known as leverage.

In general terms, leverage is the power to influence people to get the results you want.

For example, you may pay someone to do tasks that don’t bring as much value.

This is exactly what billionaires do and is a major part of the reason they’re extremely productive.

Pay someone or something else to do low-impact activities so you don’t have to.

Constantly look for opportunities to replace yourself and free up time to focus on activities that bring the most value.

Before I hired a housekeeper, I thought this was a luxury afforded just to the wealthiest people in society.

I couldn’t justify why I should pay someone else to do something I could do by myself.

That was until I realized it’s not an expense – I’m investing in myself by doing so…

I don’t cook, I don’t clean, and I don’t run errands.

This saves me around 5–10 hours a week to focus on building my business and serving freelance clients.

Here’s the catch: the money I make from those extra hours more than compensates for what I pay my house helper.

In other words, I’m turning a profit.

If a task takes a lot of your time, pay someone else to do it and reinvest the new time you’ve freed into making more progress.

Final thoughts

While it’s true most of us won’t become billionaires, there’s still plenty of lessons we can learn from them about productivity and preserving time.

You don’t need billions to:

1. Pay the premium for high-quality
2. Build a capsule wardrobe
3. Have an idea capture system
4. Plan days in advance
5. Pay others to do low-impact tasks

All you need is clear priorities.

Thanks for reading!

Grab your FREE copy of my short e-book — Don’t Just Set Goals, Build Systems.

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