The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management

Proven Strategies for Increased Productivity and Inner Peace

Author: Hyrum Smith

Personal Score: 7.8/10

Goodreads Score: 4.18/5


An excellent book that shows a step-by-step process by which someone can create a personal productivity system that starts with values. It begins by identifying governing values, prioritizing your life’s goals, and converts those values into daily actions through a system of planning, mindset, reflection, and event control. Some great tools are introduced here, like;

Beyond that, the book covers productivity broadly but doesn't dive too deep into any individual subject. It is backed by years of seminars delivered by the author, which provides many supporting stories and credibility to the process. I found the first few chapters around identifying personal values and implementing them through a personal constitution to be the most valuable. The rest of the advice is relatively standard today, and even improved upon.

🚀3 Best Ideas in This Book

  1. Creating governing values and a personal constitution is what fills your daily actions with meaning. It cultivates a strong sense of direction and fulfillment within you—the story of Benjamin Franklin (Law 2 below).
  2. The I-Beam test is a powerful thought exercise where one imagines what would incentivize them to cross an construction I-beam between two of the world's tallest buildings with no safety straps (Law 2 below). I think swimming across the Nile filled with Crocodiles would be another helpful example. It helps you prioritize your values and identify those that are far above the rest.
  3. The reality model provides a clear illustration (pictured under Conclusion) of how strongly your beliefs effect your actions. It offers a way to generate awareness of the belief windows one holds.

Bonus idea: The concept that there is a direct relationship between productivity and self esteem. Smith argues that the key is in event control. As we become more productive, we feel a stronger sense of control over our life, resulting in higher self esteem which motivates us to be more productive, and a positive vortex emerges. A lapse in any of these generates a downward spiral in the similar, but opposite, way.

📜Book Summaries & Key Lessons


Part 1: Managing Your Time

Law 1: You control your life by controlling your time

What is time?

“If nobody asks me, I know, but if I were desirous to explain it to someone-plainly, I do not know.”
~ St. Augustine
“Time is absolute, it occurs whether the universe is here or not.” ~ Sir Isaac Newton

“Time is merely the order of events, not an entity in  itself.” ~ Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
“Time is no independent existence apart from the order of events by which we measure it.” ~ Albert Einstein
“Time is a continuum in which events succeed one another from past through present and to future.” ~ Websters Dictionary
“Time is what keeps one darn things after another from becoming every darn thing at once.” ~ Seminar Participant

There are multiple Time robbers in life; the primary five are below, but this list is not exhaustive. There are many more too:

Law 2: Your governing values are the foundation of personal fulfillment

"From governing values, you can create a vision and a personal constitution that acts as a compass for your goals and actions."

Law 3: When your daily activities reflect your governing values, you experience inner peace

“In an unpredictable economy, the personal productivity of individuals becomes paramount.”

Law 4: To reach any significant goal, you must leave your comfort zone

"It is our nature always to seek a comfort zone; if there is none, we will quickly create one and stay within it. This is what stunts learning."

Make SMART goals based on the 8 categories of life.

The three obstacles to leaving comfort zones are

“There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm of a determined soul.” - Ella Wilcox

Law 5: Daily planning leverages time through increased focus

"Planning is a leveraged investment of your time. It requires little and produces a lot."

The best planning session has these 6 criteria:

Laser thinking is the process of focusing time and energy on your daily activities through the lens of your governing values and goals. Laser your thinking during those 10 - 15 minutes by focusing all of your attention on answering “What are the highest priorities in my life?” and “of those priorities, which do I value most?” A laser thinking planning session should result in a prioritized marching order for that day. Then you get to check off each task throughout the day. It feels terrific, and you’ll get addicted to it. How to properly prioritize your daily task list:

6 simple rules for using your planning tools effectively

“Character is the ability to make a worthy decision after the emotion of making that decision has passed.”

Part 2: Managing Your Life

Law 6: Your behavior is a reflection of what you truly believe

First Element Needs: Physically, needs are air to breathe, water to drink, shelter to keep warm, and food to eat. Psychology it is said (Dr. Murray Banks) that there are four needs:

“Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from poor judgment.” ~ Anonymous

Law 7: You satisfy needs when your beliefs are in line with reality

“If the results of your behavior meet one or more of your four basic needs, you probably have a correct belief. Conversely, if the results do not meet your needs, you can be fairly sure the belief in question is incorrect.”

“results often take time to measure. But results of many other actions  may take years.”

5 rules for changing beliefs

"I..." messages help persuade others to see change in themselves with 4 steps, first 3 are straight forward, 4th requires some navigating with questions.

Law 8: Negative behaviors are overcome by changing incorrect beliefs

Law 9: Your self-esteem must ultimately come from within

“The eyes of other people, are the eyes that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither fine clothes, fine houses, nor fine furniture.”
~ Ben Franklin
"Stop conforming to the environments around you, and conform to YOU."

Ask yourself, “What do I really want? What has worked for me in the past?" There are three levels of motivation we act with:

Law 10: Give more, and you’ll have more

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

“The power to lead is the power to mislead. The power to mislead is the power to destroy.”


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