Time-saving tips to be more productive in less than a minute

Life coaches, success coaches, motivational speakers: there's an entire industry of people who've made it their job to tell you how to be better and achieve more, sooner.

Then there are the books, from How To Win Friends and Influence People to 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Motivation is big business. But many Australians don't want American-style motivational speeches, or to read a book of cliched aphorisms.

With that in mind, I approached some of the country's most successful men across a range of fields, sectors and backgrounds, and asked for their 60-second tip to staying motivated and achieving their goals.

Their answers – all nuggets that can be completed in under a minute - may surprise you. Certainly, they may inspire you to spend the next minute of your life wisely, creatively and usefully.

Turn off the internet (by force if necessary)

"Maybe it's a generational thing, but I find it near-impossible to concentrate for long periods of when my phone is close or the internet is turned on – which is constantly. So if I need to writing something long or do offline research, I activate Freedom on my laptop (which forcibly deactivates the internet for set periods of time) and Forest on my iPhone."

– Benjamin Law, Fairfax columnist, writer, has PhD in creative writing and cultural studies.

Set just three tasks for the day

"Don't create a long to do list. In the morning, set three tasks for the day that are the most important things to get done. Don't finish the day without making at least some progress on those three things. has a shoirt At the end this is better than having a long list of many things to do and getting lost and distracted in the noise of things that are ultimately not that important to you achieving your short and long term goals."

Wyatt Roy, youngest ever person to be elected to Australian Parliament.

Go outside

"I always like to get a minute of sun – just quiet time no interruptions, usually while walking my dog. I find a spot and just sit for a minute empty my mind, close my eyes and let the sun warm my face. When I was young, I'd sit in my parents' car and feel the sun through the window. I carry a lot of things in my head. I read constantly, I'm always thinking and it can get crowded in there! It always works. It never fails to leave me feeling calm and clear-headed."

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– Stan Grant, journalist, broadcaster, presenter, author.

Leave the best for last

"When reading emails, people tend to take notice of what's in the 'PS' line. So if you need to get cut through or if you're asking for something big, add or repeat your important requests as the very last line of the email."

– Tim Fung, CEO and co-founder of Airtasker, Australia's largest community marketplace.

Reply immediately

"When you're contacted by someone who needs a response, it's much better to respond quickly and briefly – even if it only takes 59 seconds! – than putting off getting back to them until later. Every day you wait to get back to someone, the expectation about the length and detail of your response increases and ultimately puts a bigger burden on you. I should stress that although I strive to do this myself, I don't always succeed!"

– James Paterson, youngest ever senator for the Liberal Party, aged 28.

Take a step back

"As lifelong learners, we need to be constantly updating our mental maps, expanding our repertoire of responses, and inventing new ways to approach complex problems. Every leader needs a certain curiosity about their world. But they also need the capacity to step back from intense activity and reflect carefully on where they and their organisations are going."

– Tim Costello, AO, CEO of World VIsion Australia, 2004-2016

Trust and love

"Remember that all your achievements will be forgotten soon after your funeral but the love you shared will live on for generations. Surround yourself with people who are better at what they do than you'll ever be – and trust them."

– Graham Long, AM, Pastor and Chief Executive of the Wayside Chapel.

And finally, remember these words, by George Bernard Shaw.

"I dread success. To succeed is to have finished one's business on earth, like the male spider, who is killed by the female the moment he has succeeded in his courtship."

What are you quick tips to getting more out of your life and career? Let us know in the Comments section. 

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