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How to Manage your Time

How to Manage Your Time

How to Manage Your Time

How can you make the maximum progress, with the minimum time and effort? You can do this by learning how to better manage your time.

It is important that you DO, because time is strictly limited to 24 hrs a day.

  • And you have to sleep.
  • And you have to eat.
  • And you have to spend time travelling,
  • And you have to rest.
  • And you have to talk to people about their day.
  • And you have a social life.

And so the amount of time you have to do progressive work is strictly limited. So you need to be operating according to the correct time management principles.

Here are the correct principles of time management:

1. Decide upon your major goals and focus on them

Develop a mental attitude of "Goal Focus".

  • Those people who are goal focused get their goals.
  • Those people, who are not, don't!

The opposite of goal focused mentality is "drifter mentality".

Do you know any drifter-types? They drift into work (a bit late), they drift around the office, they have no sense of urgency, no sense of drive, no sense that they are trying to achieve something specific. He is a nice guy, an intelligent guy, but he tends to drift.

Compare that to the goal focused person, who comes to work in order to achieve a specific outcome. These people I call, Laser-sighted. They have a mind that is able to focus and concentrate their energy onto the achievement of a task and, no matter what, they don't lose their concentration.

This is the first and most important attribute of a time manager: A Goal focused mind.

2. Logical planner

Busy zone

The time manager operates according to a plan.

  • They are not operating according to their moods.
  • They are not operating according to chance environmental influences.
  • They are not operating by looking at what the majority are doing.

Instead: They are operating according to a plan that they wrote out in advance.

Time managers always have two mental objects: a definite goal and a detail written plan.

I was talking to a friend who was bemoaning his lack of progress, and I asked him, "Les, can I see your goals list and your detailed written plans for their attainment?"

He said, "What goals list? What plan? I don't have a goals list. I don't have a plan. I just take each day as it comes."

I said, "How can you make progress towards a goal you never set, or on a plan you haven't written?"

We all need two things: A definite goal and a detailed written plan.

3. Prioritisation

You cannot do everything at the same time. If you are concentrating, as you should be, then you can only do one thing well at a time. Therefore you need to prioritise your tasks.

Prioritise your tasks according to their value.

Don't prioritise your task according to the likeability of the task. (Meaning, don't say, "I'll do the things I like doing, and I'll put off the horrible tasks").

Don't prioritise your tasks according to the easiness of the task. (Meaning, don't say, "I'll do the easy things first".)

Prioritise according the tasks according to their value, and their deadline pressure.

  1. Do the high value, deadline driven things first. Crisis zone.
  2. Do the high value, not yet late things, second. Productive zone.
  3. Do the lower value not late things, third. Busy zone.
  4. Do the lower value, not urgent things last, if at all. Fruitless zone.

Be careful. Many people do things wrong. They spend endless time in the busy zone, doing lower value work, when they should be in the productive zone, doing higher value Productive work.

Productive work is: planning, preparation, prevention of avoidable error, protocols, making sales, making new opportunities and solving problems before they have a chance to do any damage. If you do a lot of this type of Productive work, in advance of need, your Q1 crises work drops off to a trickle.

But most people spend too much time in the busy zone,

  • They don't do enough planning, preparation and prevention,
  • They don't make enough sales,
  • They don't create opportunities and
  • They don't solve problems before they have a chance to blow up into crises.

As a result of spending too much time in the Busy zone, and not enough time in the Productive zone, they are in a perpetual state of crises.

Once you know what is productive then; do ONLY that.

WhatsNext? Priority Order App

To help you prioritise your To Do List, we have developed:
WhatsNext? a powerful app which will make you more efficient.

4. Don't be easily distracted

You need to stay on track and not be pushed off track by other people who are doing it wrong.

Many people are floundering. They are breaking all the good time management rules we have been discussing:

  • Many people are not goal focused.
  • Many people are acting according to their mood, not their plan.
  • Many people seem to LACK a plan.
  • Many people don't seem to be prioritising by task-value, instead, they are doing the things they want to do, and avoiding the things they don't want to do.
  • Many other people are Busy, but not Productive.
  • They are having too many busy but NON productive days.

You need to ensure that the others do NOT knock you off track. If you are doing what we suggest here, if you are:

Goal focused, planning ahead, working on your productive list of tasks, and saying "No" to BUSY work and Fruitless work, then you will be in the minority.

Don't let others knock you off your track and drag you into the BUSY-Zone or the FRUITLESS- Zone.

5. Work-life balance

Remember that you need to keep a balance between work and recuperation.

  • Work hard. Then rest and recuperate. Then
  • Work hard. Then rest and recuperate. Then
  • Work harder. Then rest and recuperate.

There are people who overdo a good thing and work, work, work, work, work, without proper recuperation. And they end up, burned out.

All work is a form of stress and all stress has three components: Intensity, duration and frequency.

If you want to work intensely, (which you should), then you need to manage both the duration and frequency of the work-stress.

NOBODY can work intensely; frequently and for extended periods. You need to properly manage the intensity, duration and frequency of your stresses.

If you do, you will make fantastic progress.

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Time Management Training

Most people feel they need help with time management. How can you get more done in the same amount of time? How can you stop other people wasting your time? If you want to know how, then click here to find out more about our time management training course.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Further Reading in Time Management

  • How to Prioritise Effectively
    Prioritisation is at the heart of time management. You cannot do multiple things at the same time; you must put tasks into a priority order. There are four ways that you can prioritise your tasks and be a better time manager.
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  • Time Management Skills: Planning Ahead
    Time Management Skills: Planning Ahead One of the best things you could do for yourself is to develop the discipline of planning ahead Planning ahead is the best way to improve your time management skills. Planning ahead is the best way to maximise your personal effectiveness. Planning ahead will allow you...
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  • The Six Most Important Time Management Skills
    We are told to do the most important things first. But knowing what is important is a skill in itself. How do you decide? Why do you need a plan when you can improvise? What does it mean to delegate? Find the answers in this blog!
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  • How to Manage Emails Effectively
    Emails have become a big distraction in the workplace. It is hard to stay focused on your work when incoming emails are forever grabbing your attention, especially when they turn out to be unimportant. Here are some great tips for dealing with them.
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  • Why are some meetings a waste of time?
    Do you feel meetings are a waste of time? Here are some tips to help you decide whether a meeting should be held and an app to help you calculate the approximate cost of the meeting.
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