Guest blog post from Tom Hopkins, Bestselling Author of How to Master the Art of Selling


overwhelmedWe all have the same 86,400 seconds in a day. That is a limitation of our existence. So, the only way to achieve more success with the time you have is to make that time more productive. Over the years, I’ve found it so helpful to invest a few minutes at the end of each week to think about how I could have been more productive. The realizations that have come to me have truly made my life and my business better.

I was fortunate early in my sales career to take some advice to heart. The advice was that “poor people should take rich people to lunch – and listen.” Since the results of my real estate career at that point in time would definitely fall under the “poor” category, I started paying attention to who was doing better than I was. There was a man in business in my community who everyone looked up to because of his great success. I decided I would take him to lunch.

It took several attempts but my persistence paid off and he finally agreed to meet me for lunch. I had chosen a nice restaurant, and was so nervous that I was afraid to pick up my water glass for fear of spilling it all over myself. I hadn’t prepared well and didn’t even know where to begin with asking him questions. After a few minutes, he asked me why I wanted to meet with him. When I told him about the advice I had been given he asked if I was serious about wanting to achieve success. I seem to recall my voice cracking as I replied “yes.”

He leaned back in his chair for a moment, looking at me. Then he said, “Tom, I’m going to give you the best advice I’ve ever received. I’ve applied this advice to everything – my business, my family life, everything. I apply it every day, too – not just when I feel like it. Some days you’ll love me for giving you this advice. Other days you’ll wish you’d never heard it but it will always work for you.” I was so excited that he would help me this way. I started looking for something to write on. As a young, inexperienced businessperson I had failed to bring pen and paper. The restaurant had cloth napkins and I was afraid I would forget this precious advice. Then, the man leaned forward, looked me straight in the eye, and said twelve words that changed my life forever. I’ll share those words with you now: “I must do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.”

I was shocked. It sounded so simple. Could true success be gained just from being productive? Well, let me tell you it can. I have lived by those words ever since the day I heard them. And let me also tell you that it’s not always easy to follow that advice. There were times when I wanted to linger in bed rather than getting on my exercise bike. There were days when playing golf sounded a lot more fun than going into the office. But when I acted on that advice, I had better days and achieved greater success.

Please understand that living by this advice is not meant to turn you into a workaholic. Is playing on the beach with your loved ones a productive use of your time? Of course it is – when the money for the vacation has been earned. Is being present at your children’s sporting events productive? You bet it is.

Take those twelve words and start asking yourself, “Is what I’m doing right now productive as to achieving my goals?” If it’s not, make a choice and conscious effort to change what you’re doing to “the most productive thing possible.” You’ll start achieving both more balance and more success in your life.

To read more success tips and get access to 9 Free Selling Skills Videos from Tom Hopkins visit





About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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