The Creative Productivity Tip That Dhar Mann Swears By

In his Thrive Questionnaire, the entrepreneur, filmmaker, and content creator opens up about the biggest turning point in his life, his tips for dealing with stress, and his “3x” productivity rule.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Dhar Mann: Check my phone. So many people say “Don’t check your phone for the first hour of the morning” but that’s never really made sense to me. I need to know if there’s anything urgent that happened while I was sleeping that needs addressing. As soon as I know there aren’t any fires going on, then I can relax and start my morning routine. 

TG: What gives you energy?

DM: Actions that align with my purpose. When I’m doing something I’m passionate about, I have boundless energy. I feel excited and motivated. But when I find myself doing things that don’t align with my purpose my energy levels drag. I think it’s impossible to do what you’re passionate about 100% of the time, but as long as most of your time is being spent on things that are meaningful to you the energy will just flow. If you find yourself constantly tired or relying on multiple cups of coffee to make it through your day, it may be time to make some life changes. 

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

DM: I call it the 3x Productivity rule. At any given time I try to work on things that are moving me towards at least 3 of my goals. For instance, whenever I would charge my Tesla I noticed all the other owners usually sat in their cars and listened to music. For me, I would take my running shoes and head phones so while my car was charging I could also get a run in and listen to an audio book. In the same 45 minutes, we all got our cars charged but I also burned calories and learned new skills – 3x productivity. It’s not always possible to 3x but oftentimes, you can at least 2x. We all have the same 24 hours in a day so if you’re able to be 2-3x more productive than everyone else in those same hours you’ll reach your goals at a much faster rate. 

TG: Name a book that changed your life. 

DM: Shoe Dog– the story of how Phil Knight founded Nike. It was really inspiring to hear the struggles Phil went through when starting the iconic brand with shoe boxes in the living room of his apartment. It made me realize if he could get through all the obstacles he faced early on then I could also get through mine. It’s always the first book I recommend to anyone who asks and no one’s ever been disappointed. 

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?

DM: Yes. I’m on my phone all the time. I do try to put my phone away when I’m with my family so I can be fully engaged in spending time with them. It may not be the healthiest habit but it allows me to run multiple large businesses from anywhere in the world and I don’t take that for granted. A couple of tips for other compulsive phone users: Turn off the blue light on your device (it’s a setting) and be conscious of your posture when using your phone. That will help tremendously with sleep, headaches, dizziness and other health problems.

TG: How do you deal with email?

DM: Instead of trying to respond to every email as it comes in I designate time for when I’m going to respond to email. That way, when I’m ready to, I’ll respond to everything at once. It’s much more efficient than constantly checking and responding to each thing that comes in. For junk mail I actually take the time to unsubscribe or mark it as junk so I don’t have so much spam in my inbox. I’ve also got great systems in place where I can forward email off to various team members that ensure things get done without it requiring a lot of my time. 

TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?

DM: I deal with the fast, simple stuff first. That way it gives me a feeling of productivity and reduces the worry of “I’ve got a million things to do.” Usually by the time the easy stuff is cleared what’s remaining are the tasks that will take more thought, time, etc. I deal with those once I know I have the brainpower and time available so I can be more thorough and see the task through all the way to finish. I try not to half-finish things because then it continues to occupy mental real estate. 

TG: What advice would you give your younger self about reducing stress?

DM: Be patient. Good things take time. I always felt I was in a rush to succeed. A lot of young people see stories like Mark Zuckerberg, Kylie Jenner and other entrepreneurs achieving massive success at such a young age. Sure, there are some exceptions, but most successful people don’t reach that status until their 40’s, 50’s or even 60’s. I think being more patient would’ve led me to make better decisions and not miss out on so many important moments. 

TG: What’s your personal warning sign that you’re depleted?

DM: When I don’t feel creative anymore or feel burnt out. A lot of times just taking a walk, reading a book or spending time with loved ones can really help restore that balance. If you are constantly feeling depleted then it goes back to you’re probably not doing something you’re really passionate about. But if it’s happening occasionally then it’s usually stemming from your work/life balance being out of synch. 

TG: Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve your sleep. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how you sustain this habit?

DM: Turning off blue light on all my devices, creating to do lists and exercising every day. Blue light stimulates your brain so turning that off can instantly help. A lot of times when we can’t sleep we have too much on our minds so to do lists helps give your brain reassurance that it will get done. And so many of us work on our computers all day so incorporating exercise into a daily routine ensures your body is also tired which will help you rest better.

TG: What was the biggest turning point in your life?

DM: When I learned to take responsibility for everything negative that happened in my life. I remember reading a quote that said “If you don’t see yourself as the problem then you won’t see yourself as the solution” and that really hit me. When things wouldn’t work out in the past I would blame other people, the economy, the timing, my lack of resources, etc. But once I started looking at things that went wrong as “what could I have done differently to prevent that?” my life vastly improved. 

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