Don’t compromise when it comes to hiring. Look for perfection: capable, professional people want to work with those who are just like them.
Petr Ludwig is an entrepreneur and an author of ‘The End of Procrastination’, an international bestseller about productivity, willpower, and critical thinking translated into 16 languages. He is and a co-founder at procrastination.com providing training in multiple languages to individuals and Fortune 500 companies.
Where did the idea for your book come from?
I realized there was a huge gap between what science knows about procrastination and how people act on an everyday basis. I had the idea of taking the newest research on motivation and finding purpose at work, and transforming it into a simple set of tools that would allow people to live more fulfilled lives. Then I wrote The End of Procrastination, which became an international bestseller and has been translated into 15 languages.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I live between Europe and the U.S., traveling a lot to speak at events and workshops, so very good time management is crucial. To be as productive as possible, I use tools from my book. For example, I visualize a mind map I call “To Do Today,” which shows the exact order of tasks and priorities I need to accomplish in any given day. I use my own advice on a daily basis.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Every year I spend at least one month in Japan. For me, it’s the best place to cultivate new ideas. I take this month-long vacation to read a lot of research, like studies on motivation and productivity, and then I try to make them more accessible to the public.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I studied artificial intelligence (AI) in college and I believe that we’ll see new applications of AI in education. I believe learning is something that continues throughout life and technology can aid our personal growth. Another key topic I am currently focused on is critical thinking, which allows us to recognize what is true and what is not. In the future, it will be possible for AI to fight fake news.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have a team of 35 people, and every day I think about how to help my colleagues understand and fulfill our mission. I started to use a simple software called Monday that allows us to visualize our company strategy, and it’s one of the key tools I have integrated to boost productivity. I use this software a lot when I travel to let my team know what our priorities are.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I’ve been running my business for almost 14 years. I started while studying at two universities: I I first studied law and then Computer Science and AI. But I was stuck in the local Czech market for a long time. I only started my international business a few years ago and now understand that I should’ve done that years ago. The main advice I would give my younger self is to think big and go global as soon as possible.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I often feel like an outlier: I teach critical thinking and so I can argue for both sides. I am always trying to connect people and help them understand their differences. By overcoming their bias, they can become more humble in their argumentation. I am the one who always has a different opinion but, at the end of the day, I help others better understand complexity and help them realize that our world is not black or white.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
A key to my personal growth is my ‘habit list,’ another tool from my book. My habit list consists of a simple set of actions I repeat daily, like a cold shower in the morning, exercise, or writing down three things I am grateful for. I think everyone should have a habit list because we sometimes forget what’s important.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
For me it was the transition from offline to online. I started to offer online courses and webinars a few years ago. Online services can have a much bigger impact. To share my knowledge, I also launched a podcast called “Deep Talk.” I have a lot of amazing guests, mostly entrepreneurs and founders, that help me spread my message and discuss purpose and values at work. My podcast is my heart project. I believe it can help and inspire a lot of people.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
For me, failures usually result from hiring the wrong people. I have a small team, so when I need a new person, I look for the best of the best. I don’t want to compromise when it comes to an important part of my team. We’ve made a lot of mistakes in this regard and found that compromising never went well. Now, if I am hiring someone, I look for perfection. This works for me because capable, professional people want to work with those who are just like them. And the synergy in the end is awesome. It’s worth it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
First of all, it’s very important to find purpose in what you do. Ask yourself how can you contribute to society, change the world, help your customers. Don’t be selfish. I believe the business of the future has something to do with AI: we live in a world of informational overload and are overwhelmed by many different sources. Your products or services should meet the need for personalization. For example, you could create technology to help individuals identify the best book for them to read right now depending on their interests.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought a special device that connects my iPhone to two microphones. It’s cheap but it works perfectly and allows me to record my podcast pretty much everywhere.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I’ve already mentioned the visual software Monday. In my personal life, I use a simple app called Headspace that improves focus and decreases anxiety. Headspace helps me to be calmer.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’ve spent eight years of my life on my book so I’d like to recommend The End of Procrastination, an international bestseller about productivity, willpower, overcoming failure, and critical thinking.
What is your favorite quote?
“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” (Francis Phillip Wernig, sometimes wrongly attributed to Albert Einstein).
- Don’t compromise when it comes to hiring. Look for perfection: capable, professional people want to work with those who are just like them.
- It’s very important to find purpose in what you do. Ask yourself how can you contribute to society, change the world, help your customers.
- Think big and go global as soon as possible.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.