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Unleash Your Full Potential: 20 Time-Tested Principles for Getting More Out of Life

Unleash Your Full Potential: 20 Time-Tested Principles for Getting More Out of Life

By James Rick

Time is the mother of all resources. If you had enough time, you could read a page a day and read all the books there are in the world. If you had enough time, you could earn a penny a day and earn all the money there was to be had in the world. If you had enough time, you would be immortal and the question of effectiveness would never even come up!

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but not all of us have the same results. What matters most is NOT how much time you have, but how well you use it. For example you may know someone who has lived a long but dull life. You may also know someone who has lived a short but full life.

What follows are 20 time-tested strategies for getting more out of life. By applying some or all of the following principles you cannot help but take control of your time and destiny. By incorporating these principles into your life to use your time more effectively, you are sure to live an exciting life filled with extraordinary experiences!

Principle 1: Define the Outcome
Visualize the end result and work backwards. By knowing your objective, you can identify and concentrate on only the most effective actions for getting there.

Principle 2: Know Your Purpose
Purpose is your emotional juice; it’s what gets you fired up to see things through, in spite of challenges. If you’re not excited to do something long-term, don’t do it. Commitment only works at 100%.

Principle 3: Prepare in Advance
Consider the obstacles you might encounter and prevent wasting time with the unexpected. By minimizing surprises, you minimize the time, energy, and money it takes to achieve your objective.

Principle 4: Direct the Law of Cause and Effect
Identify the “right” causes for producing the effect you desire. Avoid reinventing the wheel whenever possible.

Principle 5: Use the 80/20 Rule
Identify and focus on the 20 percent that yields the 80 percent. What ideas, products, or tasks have the most impact? Concentrate on these to the exclusion of everything else.

Principle 6: Avoid the Snakes
Avoid the temptation to tidy up loose ends. Little tasks can keep you busy and provide a sense of accomplishment but they never end. For every snakehead you cut off, two more appear.

Principle 7: Complete Your Musts
Narrow down your daily tasks to just one or two MUST-DO activities.
Even if you don’t complete 80% of your task list, at least you completed your MUST-DO activities.

Principle 8: Research Like Crazy
You should only invest in what you know. Effective action requires knowledge. Make it a rule to research an idea, a person, or an industry before you invest in them.

Principle 9: Identify Key Constraints
Take your foot off the brake before you hit the gas. Sometimes, the secret of success is knowing what not to do.

Principle 10: One Bit, One Elephant At A Time
While it may not always be possible, try to finish one project before moving on to the next one. A finished project not only starts paying off, but it also frees up mental space while working on another.

Principle 11: Create Your Own Pressure
Discipline yourself to do the things that nobody else asks of you. Don’t compare yourself with others; compare yourself to your own personal best. Set high standards, create your own deadlines, and force yourself to stretch; pressure makes diamonds.

Principle 12: Maximize Your Energy
First energy, then action. You might know what to do, but it won’t get done unless you have energy beyond what the task requires.

Principle 13: Focus on the Solution
As a rule, invest 10 percent of your time identifying a problem and 90 percent of your time figuring out the best solution. Complaining, asking why it happened, or blaming someone for what they should have done doesn’t change anything for the better.

Principle 14: Learn the Art of Creative Procrastination
As a general rule, what is put off is eventually forgotten. By simply ignoring tasks or problems that don’t add much value to your life, you’ll discover that they usually work themselves out.

Principle 15: Deal with Distractions in Advance
When you have to concentrate, go where you can minimize distractions. Unplug and turn off the phone, email, and Instant Messengers. Communicate your intention to focus, in advance, to people that usually disturb you. Studies show that stopping and starting a task requires several minutes of refocusing. That is wasted effort and unnecessary frustration.

Principle 16: Develop the Habit of Completion
Getting clear on your commitment and finishing what you start allows you to develop the habit of completion. As you begin new projects in the future, you will have more faith in your ability to complete the job.

Principle 17: Use the Power of Compound Interest
Compound interest builds on yesterday’s activities. Invest today in tasks and projects that have the greatest potential to add to your power tomorrow.

Principle 18: Maximize Your Resources
Think in terms of efficiency and leverage. Make the most of what you have and you’ll have most of what you want.

Principle 19: Never Let A Trivial Thing Stop You
There’s never going to be a perfect time to do something. You cannot wait for the stars to align before you begin your important work. If the work is worthy of you, begin it immediately.

Principle 20: Apply What You Learn
Avoid becoming a seminar junky or buying “shelf help” (books and CDs that sit on your shelf). Even if you take just one useful idea and use it, you are far better off than someone who knows 10 useful ideas and uses none.

Here’s an easy way to remembering the core of the 20 Principles:


OUTCOME: Know what you want, establish a clear outcome.
RESEARCH: Learn through people (experts) who’ve done it.
ACTION: Create a plan and take action!
NOTICE: Notice whether it’s working or not.
GRIND: Be willing to refine and re-plan your approach.
ECHO: Repeat formula until desired outcome is realized.

Take some time now to think about how you can apply some of these principles in your own life. What area in your life that you most want to control? What outcome do you have for this area that if realized would have the greatest impact on your life? How can you use Full Potential ORANGE and some or all of the 20-time-tested principles to make this new outcome a reality? When and where can you start taking action!?

The concept of using your time wisely is so important, after you have gone through the ORANGE formula a few times, this article is worth re-reading again and again.

James Rick (aka Mr. Full Potential) is author of Unleash Your Full Potential, host of the Full Potential Show and Founder of Full Potential Academy. For more information, please visit,