Productivity Tips from the Past

We suppose you could say that these are for conservatives. (Except that most of our visitors probably would click away if we did.)


George Washington’s Best Productivity Tricks
y Thorin Klosowski

In order to become a famous inventor, president, scientist, or just about anything else with a semblance of importance, you have to know how to get things done. With that in mind, we know that we can learn a lot about productivity and leadership from these types, so we figured we’d look into exactly how they do it, starting with President George Washington.

George Washington was the quintessential jack of all trades. He not only led the United States in the Revolutionary War, he was also our first president. It takes some serious management and leadership skills to get that much done, so here are three of our favorite tips we’ve gleaned from him.

Maximize Your Strengths and Listen to Everyone

It’s no secret that American was the weaker side in the Revolutionary War. Washington’s troops were outnumbered by the British in both manpower and firepower, but somehow the then commander-in-chief George Washington found a way to win the war.

Author David Hackett Fisher looked at the turning points of the Revolutionary War in his book Washington’s Crossing. The key takeaway, and the thing we all learned in elementary school, is that George Washington decided to use guerilla tactics instead of facing the British head-on as was the custom at the time. This wasn’t just a decision that came overnight of course. Washington and his generals had to look at the strengths of the American army and figure out how to maximize them, even if that meant breaking long-standing rules of war.

While most of us know that the Revolutionary War was won with tactics, it was also because Washington was willing to listen to anyone regardless of rank. Fisher explains how Washington differed from the British in the way he made decisions before the Battle of Trenton:

That night British and American councils of war made different decisions—and also made them differently. Again [officer] Cornwallis imposed his plan from the top down, against the judgement of able inferiors, and prepared to attack in the morning. Washington in his council of war welcomed the judgements of others and presided over an open process of discovery and decision that yielded yet another opportunity. in the night, Washington disengaged his forces from an enemy only a few yards away, and an exhausted American army found the will and strength to make another night march toward the British base at Princeton.

We’re all aware that ideas can come from anywhere, and sometimes beginner’s can come up with better ideas than experienced people. Washington knew that too, and when taking on an enemy that was far bigger than him, he looked to anyone—regardless of age or rank—for ideas.

Create a Set of Rules for Yourself

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