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How to Manage Your Time

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

Daily calendar with future log of plans and pen on desk for time management
Personal calendar to manage time

Charles Darwin once said, “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” Some people live by this phrase. They know how to manage their time and how to use every minute of the day with purpose and focus.

Others, however, don’t. Some get stressed out by everything that they have to do, and instead of managing their time wisely, they procrastinate and accomplish little or nothing.

So what can be done to help the latter group procrastinate less and accomplish more? The answer is Calendaring and Time Management. Yes, this sounds like a basic concept, and that’s because it is.

Okay, so how do you actually start this and be effective.

  • Know your goals. Engage in activities that support both your long-term and short-term goals. Guard your time and stop giving it away to things that don’t further those goals.

  • Make use of lists. Yes, there is talk about whether lists really work or whether they’re a waste of time. For me, they are helpful. For others, they may make items seem more overwhelming. But here’s a way to break down your tasks into 4 lists so that you can keep your focus.

  • Your daily schedule

  • To-do lists

  • People-to-contact list

  • Meeting list

  • Follow the 80/20 rule. This idea, as related to time management, is that 80 percent of your results come from only 20 percent of your actions. So work smarter, not harder.

  • Eat that Frog. What the heck does that mean? The frog is your biggest, most important task. So start with your hardest and most important task, and get into the habit of completing this task early in the morning when you have the energy and focus to do it.

  • Say “No.” It’s okay to say “no” to tasks that aren’t going to further your goals and spread you too thin. Only take on commitments that you know have time for and that you truly care about.

  • Block your time. Instead of thinking about all of the tasks you have to do for the day, you’ll actually assign time to each task and block off that time on your calendar (whether digital or paper).

  • Avoid distractions. This is pretty self-explanatory, but sometimes it’s harder to do than it sounds. Close your door while you’re eating that frog, turn off certain notifications if you’re able to, and again, block off time.

  • Take fewer meetings. While there are times when meetings are necessary, you want to keep these to a minimum and make them count. If it’s something that doesn’t require a meeting and can be answered via email, then do it. This way you can spend more time on important work.

  • The 4 D’s. Filter all requests through the 4 D’s.

  • Delete (or archive). Go through your inbox and delete (or archive) emails that are unwanted.

  • Delegate. If there is a task that can be handled by someone else on your team, then delegate it.

  • Defer. Some tasks can be deferred until a later time. Focus on what’s important now, and come back to the lesser important tasks.

  • Do it. Sometimes you just need to buckle down and get the task done.

  • Batch-related tasks. Batching is merely working on a group of similar activities at the same time. So instead of responding to emails as they come in, you read and respond to them at specific times. This way, you’re not interrupting your workflow.

  • Self-care. It’s been found that a good night’s sleep, eating healthy, and exercising regularly will give you the energy, focus, and stamina to make the most of your day.

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