Why Exceptional Leaders Skip Lunch
May 19, 2015

Why Exceptional Leaders Skip Lunch

by Brian de Haaff

We all have the same 24 hours in a given day, but not everyone chooses to spend their hours in a meaningful way. You may know someone who gained a leadership role who goes through life as if they have all the time in the world — when you know they do not.

But then there are other managers who you and everyone else wants to work for. They accomplish so much in one day that it is mind-boggling. Some say that they were just “born that way” but you know better. They are actively working different.

What sets them apart? Are they a different breed?


I have been fortunate enough to work with over 100 executives over the last few years, and as the CEO of Aha! I have talked with over 1,000 more. Here is what I have learned.

These goal-driven leaders instinctively understand that life is short, and every minute matters.

They have a greater sense of urgency than anyone you have ever met.

How do they do it? And if you are not that type of person by nature, can you become one?


Although hyper-productive leaders are a rarity, you can look to these leaders and make a few of their habits your own if you want to be as productive as they are. They:

Eat at their desk These leaders do the basic math of time-saving, and squeeze as much work in as possible throughout the day. Lunchtime offers you 60 precious minutes of uninterrupted work time. That is 300 extra minutes per week, and 15,600 extra minutes per year.

Work more than everyone else I believe the expression “work smarter, not harder” is complete nonsense. The hyper-productive people that I know have internalized that. You have to do both — work smarter and harder than everyone else if you want to get stuff done. There are no shortcuts.

Exercise Hyper-productive leaders need energy to accomplish so much, so they do not neglect their health. If you work out on a regular schedule, you will get a natural dose of endorphins that fuels your workday. You will feel more awake, focused and productive, and have more stamina to lead your team.

You can become more like those leaders that everyone wants to follow when you start realizing that every moment is critical.

Hyper-productive leaders realize their time is finite. That is why they are compelled to work with such urgency and purpose.

Try adopting these habits and see what happens. While you may not max out your productivity right away, you may discover hyper-productive moments when you get more done than ever before.

What do the most productive leaders you know do?

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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