Tim Ferriss is known for being unconventional.

He proudly colors outside the lines and has an enviable lifestyle to show for it.

In fact, if there’s a normal way to accomplish something, odds are you’ll find him doing the exact opposite.

But there’s one thing most everyone can agree on – Tim is a productivity monster.

Although his methods may seem strange they are calculated to optimize every task he performs.

Tim recently sat down with Andrew Warner and shared some of his best growth and productivity hacks in their Mixergy interview. ignore them at your peril.

Tim shows how to:

  1. Develop the Right Stakes
  2. Keep a Mindset of Elimination
  3. Systematize Everything
  4. Schedule Downtime
  5. Create Your Own Luck

In this interview you’ll learn why Tim subscribes to these principles in his everyday life…and how you can too.


How Tim Ferriss Lives An Inspired Life – And You Can Too

1. Develop the Right Stakes

Most people are pretty terrible at sustaining their motivation. Only when their feet are held to the fire do they actually get the most important things done.

The best way to cross the finish line is by keeping some “skin in the game” throughout the process. Financial implications are usually the most common, but others can be effective as well.

This is why Tim says you need to create the right stakes before you begin.

“Stakes are insurance against human nature. You need a carrot or a stick to propel yourself to do what you need to.”  -Tim Ferriss

Without the threat of consequences for failing, there’s no imperative to act.

“If you’re an employee, and you don’t do your job, you get fired.”

On the other hand, “if you don’t follow your diet, not much happens, you just stay fat. But there is no punishment.”

Ferriss explains that the key is to make the stakes big enough to grab your attention without sending you overboard.

“…the stakes that you choose have to be enough to incentivize you to do what you need to do but not so much that you’re constantly an anxious mess.”

2. Keep a Mindset of Elimination

Before adding anything new to your plate, the first thing you should ask is, “What can I stop doing in return?”

“I focus on a massive elimination first. I try to remove as much as possible so that I have fewer moving pieces to think about. Elimination is a huge part of why I get anything done”

Tim swears by the 80/20 rule. Every week he evaluates how he spends his time and makes adjustments to focus just on the highest value activities. Then he eliminates everything else.

“Look at the 20% that are the highest leverage positive things and focus on those. Then the 20% most negative things that are consuming the most time, and try to eliminate them.”

Everything outside of the top and bottom 20% works itself out.

3. Systematize Everything

Once you Eliminate the mess, you Systematize the rest.

Even when buying your toothpaste…

“When you don’t have it systematized, and you go to the grocery store, you think, ‘Wow, which 100 brands of toothpaste should I buy?’ and you just sit there.”

“This can affect your ability to make decisions later on the important stuff. So I try to reserve my creativity and decision making for only the areas that will have the biggest impact.

In the end, he says it all boils down to having rituals and using the power of recipes.

That is…

Once you find what works, keep it doing it the same way. Any changes you make could be prevent you from spending your time and decision making power in more valuable ways.

4. Schedule Downtime

Do you like to take a break from work every now and then? So does Tim.

He’s been known to schedule entire months off to make room for what he calls “wandering.” This time might be spent learning a new language, trying his hand at a different hobby, or just relaxing.

No matter what, Ferriss puts as much effort into creating quality free time as he does with being productive. He says you should schedule your downtime as proactively as you do your work time. If not, the two will blend together.

“…if your personal time is just what’s left over outside of your calendar, work will encroach to fill that vacuum. For me at least, I find it very helpful to block out that time and protect it just like I would an important conference call or a meeting.”

In fact, by the end of every Tuesday, Tim has already scheduled what cool things he’ll be doing for the upcoming weekend.

He thinks this is something everyone should consider. Otherwise,

“…you have no recovery time…and you’re going to crash and burn.”

5. Create Your Own Luck

We’ve all heard the saying that you can’t be everything to everyone. This holds especially true when it comes to entrepreneurs.

Too many people get locked into a “scarcity” mentality when it comes to finding success. Ferris says you don’t need to participate in every opportunity that comes your way.

…to be a very high functioning entrepreneur or person you need to believe that you can create opportunities at will.

That even if you miss the big startup of the year, who cares, because there’s going to be fifteen more next year. And if you get one of those right you can still make millions.”

True entrepreneurs determine their own worth and know they are solely in control of their destinies.

“You have to have the confidence that you, as an entrepreneur can make things happen and create opportunity.”

How does Tim create his own luck?

One way he “stays hungry” is by watching the same motivational video at least once a week. Every week.

Curious to know which one? Get the interview below and find out…