Birdman founded Cash Money records and is worth about $500 million. I was shocked the first time I was supposed to meet him at the studio at 1 AM on a Sunday. His day was just starting. He works at night and sleeps during the day.
Like I said, at first it was weird, but then I realized: He picked the hours that were most productive for him.
Screw what most people think is normal.
From Tim, I learned the art of the to-do list. A simple, straightforward to-do list: one note card, five to six big items, that’s it. Every day, I cross items off and tear up the card. Simple and extremely effective.
Another from Tim: You don’t have to be the first person to sign up for things. Wait a bit on new apps and social networks. Let things sort themselves out, let other people do all the trial and error, and then when you come into the picture, just be the best.
Robert Greene, renowned author of The 48 Laws of Power, showed me how he creates books.
His note-card system has changed my life. Every book I read I fold key pages and later go back through and transfer the information to note cards I organize by theme in card boxes. I now have hundreds of thousands of these cards, which I always turn to if I need an anecdote, a fact, inspiration, a strategy, a story, or an example.
From Robert I also learned that swimming is a great productivity tool. Why? Because it requires total isolation: no music, no phone, no possible interruptions—just quiet, strenuous exercise.
I’ve had some of my most productive brainstorming sessions in the pool.
In his book Old School, Tobias Wolf’s semi-autobiographical character takes the time to type out quotes and passages from great books. I do this almost every weekend.
It’s made me a) a faster typist, b) a much better writer, and c) a wiser person.
Never touch paper twice.
Let these two phrases sink in, and follow them.