10 tips to help you manage your most valuable asset – Time!

1) Realize that time management is a myth.
No matter how organized we are, there are always only 24 hours in a day. Time doesn’t change. All we can actually manage is ourselves and what we do with the time that we have.

2) Find out where you’re wasting time.

Many of us are prey to time-wasters that steal time we could be using much more productively. What are your time-bandits? Do you spend too much time surfing the interent, reading email, or making personal calls? Keep a track (audit your activities) over several days so you can form a accurate picture of what you actually do, this is the first step to effective time management. See my previous posts on time management for tools you can use.

3) Create time management goals.
Remember, the focus of time management is actually changing your behaviours, not changing time. A good place to start is by eliminating your personal time-wasters.

4) Use time management tools.
Whether it’s a Day-Timer or a software program, the first step to physically managing your time is to know where it’s going now and planning how you’re going to spend your time in the future. A software program such as Outlook, for instance, lets you schedule events easily and can be set to remind you of events in advance, making your time management easier.

5) Prioritize ruthlessly.
You should start each day with a time management session prioritizing the tasks for that day and setting your performance benchmark. If you have 20 tasks for a given day, how many of them do you truly need to accomplish?

6) Learn to delegate and/or outsource.
No matter how small your business is, there’s no need for you to be a one-person show. For effective time management, you need to let other people carry some of the load. Delegation is a powerful tool when used effectively and appropriately.

7) Establish routines and stick to them as much as possible.
Create a default diary of activities, things you do regularly. Yes, there will be exceptions and challenges will arise, but having a regular plan will help generate a routine.

8 ) Get in the habit of setting time limits for tasks.
For instance, reading and answering email can consume your whole day if you let it. Instead, set a limit of one hour a day for this task and stick to it.

9) Be sure your systems are organized.
Are you wasting a lot of time looking for files on your computer? Take the time to organize a file management system. Is your filing system slowing you down? Redo it, so it’s organized to the point that you can quickly lay your hands on what you need.

10) Don’t waste time waiting.
From client meetings to dentist appointments, it’s impossible to avoid waiting for someone or something. But you don’t need to just sit there and twiddle your thumbs. Always take something to do with you, such as a report you need to read, a bank account statement that needs to be balanced, or just a blank pad of paper that you can use to plan your next marketing campaign. Technology makes it easy to work wherever you are; your laptop, PDA and/or mobile phone will help you stay connected.

You can be in control and accomplish what you want to accomplish

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  1. Robin Dickinson 11th January 2010 at 09:54

    Excellent list, Ian. Sharp and punchy points that can be readily implemented.

    So much of time management relies on becoming more disciplined. What’s your recommendation on how one can do that?

    Really enjoying your blog.

    Best, Robin

  2. stuart 16th March 2012 at 21:57

    great set of tips i break 3 of them everyday so a am now going to try some things differently thanks for following me on twitter i may never have found this tips in “time” all the best Stuart


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