Last week, I brought you part one of an interview with Mark Ford, who shared his advice on goalsetting, along with a wealth-building formula based on his ‘Golden Buckets’ system.
This week, you’ll learn how Mark prioritises his most important tasks, the top three contributors to his success, and why he rarely looks up to other entrepreneurs.
An Interview with Mark Ford, Part II
By Tara McMeekin
What time do you usually wake up in the morning?
I wake up at 6:30am. Early rising is key to success. You will get more work done, accomplish more important tasks, advance your career more quickly, be more respected at work, make more money, and will have more time to devote to your health and happiness if you’re an early riser.
Do you have any daily routines that keep you grounded/centred?
Yes. I always organise my days. The first thing I do after I get up and dressed is sprint, stretch and meditate. Then I devote four hours to writing.
I generally do a midday workout of jiu-jitsu and I don’t take any meetings until after that. I’ve trained everyone I work with to expect not to be able to interrupt me in the morning.
At noon, my focus shifts from my primary objectives to others’ needs, including conducting any necessary meetings.
I don’t return phone calls until late afternoon because it’s not a top priority for me.
If I have spare time in the afternoon, I devote it to writing things that aren’t deadline-specific.
Checking email is the second-to-last thing I do, ahead of planning for the following day. I only check email once a day.
If I’ve accomplished all of my priorities, I often reward myself with a second workout in the evening.
I am home for dinner by 7:30pm.
How do you prioritise your most important tasks?
For me, it’s more a question of how I don’t. I don’t allow my priorities to be dictated by urgencies and emergencies. If you want to have a better life, you must fill it with good days. The best way to do that is to organise your day according to your personal priorities — doing the most important things first.
It’s easy to do. Yet 80% of the people I know — and I’m including all the intelligent and hardworking people I work with — do exactly the opposite. They organise their days around urgencies — taking care of last-minute issues that should have been dealt with earlier. Or doing tasks that help other people achieve their goals while ignoring their own.
Doing first things first is a very simple discipline. Yet its transformative power is immense. It can change your life — literally overnight.
What have been the most important contributors to your success?
There are three: I am willing to work harder than just about anyone I know. I like to spend money but I like to save even more. And I am a lifelong learner. These are the three fundamental qualities of anyone or any group that wants to acquire financial wealth.
I’m definitely not one of these people that have failed and failed and failed, and then finally made it. I never wanted to be that way. I’ve always been extremely cautious as an investor of my time, my resources and my money.
Do you have a mentor?
No, but if I am open to it, I can learn from just about anyone.
What would you say to someone who’s struggling or frustrated in his/her business or entrepreneurial pursuit?
Shed any anger and frustration you have been carrying around. Gradually, as you apply your thinking to taking action, you will begin to feel the opposite of anger and frustration.
And I would also reiterate the advice I mentioned earlier: set realistic expectations.
The public today has been deceived on this important point by reading stories about individuals who invested every cent they had in a business idea that exploded into a billion-dollar bonanza. These are great, inspiring stories. But they are not normal. For every person who got rich this way, there are 999 who went broke doing the same thing.
Is there one book you’d recommend people that’s personally inspired you?
I couldn’t name just one! Many books have inspired me. Here’s a sampling of some of my favourites.
Some of my non-fiction favourites are Ten Philosophical Mistakes by Mortimer J. Adler, Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt, and The Elements of Style by Strunk & White.
I also have favourite classics — The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens are on that list.
My favourite modern novels include Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, and The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
What other writers and entrepreneurial leaders do you look up to?
I think looking up to someone else is a very bad mental habit. There are plenty of writers I admire. Not as many entrepreneurs.
To win my admiration, you have to do well and do good. Most of the successful businesspeople I know care too much about doing well and not enough about doing good. Of course, everyone talks about helping a certain amount of people. But it’s in the daily practice of business where character shows. It’s how you treat the least of your brethren.
Thanks again, Mark. You’ve certainly given me a few extra books to add to my ‘to-read’ list! (Not to mention a new perception on answering emails.)
For Markets & Money
Editor’s Note: This interview originally appeared in Early to Rise.
Mark has spent more than three decades dispensing wisdom like this…and now he’s compiled it into the most comprehensive wealth-building program in existence…
It’s called the Wealth Builders Club. It includes everything from extra income blueprints (which could have the potential to generate thousands of dollars per month) to wealth-building strategies, plus several of Mark’s bestselling books. Click here to learn more.