“I tend to be very disciplined about how I spend my time,” explains economist and writer Dambisa Moyo, and when you take a look at her CV, you can understand why.

Moyo has three books already under her belt—including Dead Aid, her highly regarded discussion of the flaws in African aid policy, positions on the board of various international corporations including Barclays Bank, and a travel schedule that has taken her to over 80 countries and counting.

How does she do it all? Read her tips below.


  1. Rise early – regardless of the time zone

“I really love the morning. I’m very much an early bird; I love being up before everyone else because then I can really take the time to reflect and be mindful for myself. I wake up roughly the same time everyday which is around 5am regardless of where I am.”

  1. Exercise

“I spend at least an hour doing some kind of physical activity and then spend some time really figuring out what is going on around the world in terms of politics, finance, economics. I also run marathons for fun so that has really helped me understand this notion of the importance of time. Marathons are a very long distance—26.2 miles, about 42 kms—so you have to manage that process of how your body is going to run for that long a distance.”

  1. Carve out time for yourself

“The other running debate that I think people have is being busy versus being productive, and for me, I have an incredibly busy life—I’m fortunate enough to do photo shoots but I also attend board meetings and need to contribute and be productive in those contexts. Time is really valuable for me and being able to take time out, whether I’m in a taxi cab or being able to spend the time reading and understanding what’s going on, is really critically important.”

  1. Make the most of “wasted” time

“Writing is an incredibly solitary exercise so from my vantage point I spend a lot of time writing at home, but I spend a lot of time writing on airplanes as well, because I’ve found that that’s time when you don’t really get distracted or disturbed by other considerations.”

  1. Find time for friends and family but don’t let it upend your schedule

“There’s a question of how to manage the disturbances from phone calls or family and friends checking in on you—and I say disturbance because for people who have a very regimented or rigid time agenda, it can be quite difficult to manage how you spend that time vis-a-vis your personal life. I do really spend a lot of time managing my personal life and my friends and family—they’re very important to me—but it does slot into what I think is a much more structured agenda.”