Secrets Of Productivity From The World’s Top Performers

This week Fast Company came to New York City for the Fast Company Innovation Festival, and brought with them a bevy of international luminaries to share their insights and lessons. One of the most important things we can learn from those who have succeeded is how to organize life and work commitments to maximize productivity. Luckily for us, Fast Company has compiled and shared several productivity rules and tips from business leaders across industries. Read some of the excerpts below and view the full set of insights in the October issue of Fast Company.


  1. Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul

Oprah Winfrey, who is on the cover of this month’s Fast Company Magazine shared this gem on how she beats procrastination: "I procrastinate with confrontational things and uncomfortable conversations. I’ll give myself a deadline. And then I’ll change that deadline when that deadline shows up [laughs]. ‘Okay, by 3, I’m going to make that call.’ Four o’clock comes around—‘Okay okay, by 5 today. Oh, everybodys left New York! Can’t make that call!’ So now I sit and ask myself, ‘What’s the worst that’s going to happen here, and why do I fear the confrontation?’ "

Read the rest of what Oprah shared with Fast Company here.


  1. Aziz Ansari, Actor & Comedian 

Aziz Ansari is one of the biggest stars in comedy right now. Part of that success is undoubtedly pure hard work and dedication, but Ansari says: "I paint a picture of myself as this crazy workaholic, but I do think it’s important to have a well-rounded day.” According to Ansari you must give yourself breaks in order to be your best self at work. "While we were writing [Master of None], we would work until 6 or 7 p.m., and then we’d be done. There are other writers’ rooms where people spend nights in the office. I can’t imagine you’re doing your best work then. You’ve got to be a person and do other stuff, or you’re not going to be inspired to write.” 

See more of Aziz’s tips here.


  1. Ken Washington, VP of Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford 

Ken Washington has a difficult job by any standard. At Ford his mandate is “To advance the technology, and to innovate new capabilities and technologies that make our cars great, fun to drive, green, safe, and smart.” To be successful, Washington must have excellent productivity skills and tools. Speaking of tools, Washington shared the two most important tools he uses to stay productive.

"Email is huge for me. It’s really important to have an email-management strategy. I color-code emails that are from key contacts and strategic partners, so when they come to me I see them in the massive digital pile. I’ve been developing and honing this system for the past 10 years. The second tool I use is paper. There’s no substitute for it. You don’t need a Wi-Fi hot spot to get it to work. It never runs out of batteries. I start each week with a list of the things I want to accomplish and a list of key actions.”

Check out more recommendations from Ken here.


  1. Joy Cho, Designer

Joy Cho is one of the most popular users of Pinterest, boasting over 13 million followers, and has a grand mission that is nearly as big in scale as her online following: "To make life happier and prettier and more meaningful.” So what is her best advice for others looking to have a big impact through their work on the world around them? "It sounds obvious, but ‘write it down.’ I never understand how waiters in restaurants just remember orders! I have so much going on—with kids, with my business. If I don’t write it down, I will forget.” 

Take a look at more thoughts from Joy here.



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Justin Reyes
Justin Reyes