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Efficient time management

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Efficient time management
June 04, 2019 1st Anniversary Wishes 5 comments

Employees who manage their time well are more productive, more efficient, and more likely to meet deadlines. They focus on the most important and.

When defining time management, the terms “effective” and “efficient” are often used interchangeably. You can drastically improve your ability to get important things done when you understand the difference between these two mindsets of how to manage time.

Effective vs. efficient time management

Let’s start by looking at the definition for each:

Effective (adj.): Adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result.

Efficient (adj.) Performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.

To remember this, think of efficiency as being part of effectiveness. It’s not just about getting things done, but doing the best things, and doing them in the best way.

At work, these time management skills play a large role in performance. Knowing how to manage time both effectively and efficiently can be a real game changer in your career.

How to manage your time for better results

Why do some people seem to manage their time and get things done so much better than others? They consider effectiveness before efficiency.

Say you have a list of people you need to call about an upcoming meeting. If you think in terms of efficiency, you consider the best time to call, whether the list is accurate and current, and so on.

But, if you think in terms of effectiveness, you would ask yourself, “Is calling these people the best use of my time?” You examine options, such as delegating the task, using a different mode of communication, or whether it can be eliminated altogether so your time can be used more effectively.

Efficient time management is about how well you do something, but effectiveness first considers whether you should be doing it at all!

Think about your day-to-day tasks. Are you focusing on results or activities? If you focus on activities, you may get to the end of the day and feel like you haven’t accomplished anything at all. Rather than focusing on checking things off or just trying to pass the time, think about the big picture results you’re aiming for.

A lot of people try to get more things done by multitasking. They stay busy all day, switching between tasks, yet they’re no closer to reaching any personal or professional goals. This is because the human brain isn’t built for multitasking.

Working on two or more things at the same time is scientifically impossible. We can rapidly switch from one task to another, but the brain can only process one activity at a time.

Multitasking always gets in the way of effectiveness. By focusing on results, you are more likely to avoid distractions and focus on a single task from start to finish, until you can cross it off your list.

Now that we’ve established the importance of effectiveness, let’s discuss how you can optimize efficiency to reach the results you want.

Set daily goals

Goal setting is a key component of time management. Setting daily goals allows you to align your activities with the big picture results you’re working toward. Some people find it helpful to make a list of their daily tasks. Lists can bring order to chaos, and help you organize what is otherwise overwhelming.

Goals provide clarity, purpose, and meaning at work.

Prioritize your goals

Now prioritize for effectiveness. Remember, there’s no point in doing a job efficiently if you shouldn’t be doing that job at all. Think about what’s really important and how much time you’ll need to accomplish each goal. Then schedule an uninterrupted block of your time to do it.

Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, was famous for his incredible ability to sustain productivity. He developed a method (now know as the Eisenhower Matrix) for prioritizing tasks based on urgency and importance. To build more efficient time management skills, you should focus primarily on tasks that are important and need to be done on the same day.

After those tasks are done, then you can move on to the things that are less important and less urgent.

Shut down distractions

Distractions at work are the number one productivity drainer.

One study found that Americans check their phones every 12 minutes, on average. You might not notice a big difference, but when you switch your focus to your phone and back to the task you were previously working on, you have a hard time immediately concentrating again. This habit can add up to significant amounts of productivity lost to the effects of task-switching.

Now think about other distractions at work: emails, coworkers, social media, etc. Making a conscious effort to shut down distractions so you can focus on a single task will dramatically increase your productivity and overall performance.

Learn more in-depth techniques to improve time management skills for yourself and your employees in this free, on-demand webinar: 

Managing their time well and efficiently is one of the most crucial things for many people nowadays. Even though a lot of people might not even.

Productivity, Time Management & Efficiency

efficient time management

Time is precious, particularly when it comes to running a small business. While being your own boss is a dream for many, it comes with a lot of responsibility. No doubt, you never seem to be able to check off all the items on your to-do list. From accounting and inventory, to networking and marketing your company, it may seem like there’s an endless number of tasks and never enough time.

If you want to maintain some semblance of work-life balance, your time management skills really need to be on point. After all, there are never more than 24 hours in a day. Some entrepreneurs respond to this fact of life with focus and purpose. Others freak out.

If you find yourself in the latter group, don’t worry. With the right time management techniques, you can take control of your time, making your work efficient, productive, and relatively stress-free. The following time management tips can help ensure you get your work done when you’re in the office, so you can enjoy your time away from work as well.

1. Set goals

Goal setting is crucial to any good time management strategy. To make sure you’re engaging in activities that support your business goals, both short- and long-term, you need to define those goals in terms that are clear and attainable. After all, if your goal is to just “to grow your business,” you might find yourself overwhelmed and not know where to begin.

To counteract this paralysis, many companies find that the SMART goals methodology helps keep them on task and on track. Standing for “Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound,” SMART goals provide clear, step-by-step tasks to help you get where you need to go.

For example, a SMART goal might be: “Increase traffic to my website from 1,000 to 5,000 unique monthly visitors in the next six months.” When broken down, we can see that this is, indeed, a SMART goal:

  • Specific: The goal states exactly what needs to be attained.
  • Measurable: The goal can be measured with a specific tool, in this case, Google Analytics.
  • Attainable: Rather than vaguely wishing to increase visitors — or setting a goal too high to reach — this goal states a specific number that is well within the realm of possibility but still ambitious.
  • Relevant: Instead of measuring something like site sessions or overall site visitors, the goal is to reach potential new customers — always crucial when growing a small business.
  • Time-bound: There is a due date set at the end of six months to attain this goal.

Once you’ve set your SMART goals, you can work backward to determine the individual steps you’ll need to achieve your goals. Everything else is a potential time-waster. Your daily plan should revolve around working on tasks and activities that directly relate to growing your business and generating revenue.

2. Prioritize wisely

Once you’ve set your goals and determined the individual tasks you need to complete to achieve them, it’s time to prioritize. Of course, you want to make sure you’re getting things done, but they should be the right things.

Stephen Covey, the co-author of First Things First, offers advice on how to work through your to-do list based on urgency. His advice is to evaluate what’s on your plate, placing each task into one of the following buckets:

  • Important and urgent: If a task falls into this category, you know it must be done right away. Focus your energy on completing your most important and urgent tasks before moving on to less time-sensitive items.
  • Important but not urgent: These are tasks that may appear important, but upon closer examination, can be postponed to a later date if necessary. While these items are likely integral to smoothly run your business — perhaps you need to update your website or find a more efficient payroll solution — they are not do or die.
  • Urgent but not important: Tasks that make the most “noise,” but when accomplished, have little or no lasting value. In this category, you might find a sales call from a potential vendor seeking to work with you, or perhaps a coworker drops by your desk unexpectedly to ask a favor. Delegate these tasks if possible.
  • Not urgent and not important: Low-priority stuff that offers the illusion of being busy. Do these later.

Write down your three or four “important and urgent” tasks that must be addressed today. As you complete each one, check it off your list. This will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and can motivate you to move down the list, so you can also tackle less essential items in a timely fashion.

3. Just say no

You’re the boss. If you have to decline a request in order to attend to what’s truly important and urgent, do not hesitate to do so. The same goes for any projects or activities that you’ve determined are headed nowhere: Be prepared to move on to more productive tasks. Learn from experience to avoid wasting time later on.

4. Plan ahead

One of the worst things you can do is jump into the workday with no clear idea about what needs to get done. While it might seem like a waste of time to take five to ten minutes to think ahead rather than getting straight down to business, you’ll be surprised at how much more efficient you can be just by dedicating a little time to planning out the rest of the day.

If you plan your time wisely, you can focus on one task at a time, rather than wasting time jumping from one thing to the next (and rarely completing anything). This allows you to work smarter, not harder. Depending on your personality, make one of the options below part of your daily routine:

  • Plan the night before: At the end of the day, take 15 minutes to clear your desk and put together a list of the next day’s most pressing tasks. It’s a great decompression technique, and you’ll feel better sitting down at a clean desk in the morning.
  • Plan first thing in the morning: Arrive a few minutes early and assemble your prioritized to-do list (see tip two). This may prove to be the most productive part of your day.

5. Eliminate distractions

Start paying attention to the number of times someone interrupts you when you’re in the midst of an important task. Track self-induced interruptions, too, particularly those of the social media variety. Your smartphone is extremely useful, but it’s also highly addictive and among the most insidious time-wasters known to man.

It may take a massive exercise in will power, but shut the door and turn off your phone to maximize your time. Instead of being “always on,” plan a break in the day to catch up on email, make phone calls, talk with staff, etc.

6. Delegate more often

If you’ve hired talented, dedicated employees, one of the most impactful management tools available to you is the power to delegate. Running a successful small business depends on the owner’s ability to think about what lies ahead and not get mired down in day-to-day operations. Look for opportunities to pass responsibility for specific tasks to others on your team. That’s what you hired them for, isn’t it?

7. Track your time

How many productive minutes are you actually packing in each week? Time tracking is an extremely effective tool to help you gauge exactly how much time a single task takes you. With a simple timesheet tracker, you can quickly and easily clock in and out of various tasks or projects throughout the day.

Switch jobs or tasks with just one click using the TSheets mobile app or track time directly from your desktop. Then generate robust, real-time reports to see exactly where you’re spending your most valuable asset — and where it’s being wasted.

8. Take time for yourself

This tip is often forgotten in the hustle and bustle of running a successful business. However, taking care of yourself — i.e. getting plenty of sleep and exercise — is critical to maintaining any upward growth trajectory.

In fact, one Harvard study found that insomnia can cause the average worker to lose up to 11.3 days of productivity each year, while another study found that regular exercise helps improve concentration, sharpen memory, speed up your ability to learn, and even lower your stress levels.

Making sure you have some free time each day to spend on the people and things you love outside of your business is important for your mental health, and can help keep you energized and passionate about your work. After all, it’s important to keep things in perspective. You chose to become a small business owner, and every day you get to wake up to a day full of the possibilities you created for yourself.

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15 Time Management Tips for Achieving Your Goals

efficient time management

Time Management Tips That Will Make You a Productivity Master

Success in almost everything involves time management. It seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything that you need to do accomplished, but if you want to achieve much more than others in a shorter amount of time, you must improve how you manage that time.

What is Time Management?

Time management refers to how you schedule and organize your time for different activities. There are many different tools, and techniques to help you get more done in less time.

Here are some time management tips that will help you organize and manage the 24 hours in your day as efficiently as possible.

The Importance of Time Management

Time is your most precious resource. It is the most valuable thing you have. It is perishable, it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved. It can only be reallocated from activities of lower value to activities of higher value.

All work requires time.

The very act of taking a moment to think about your time before you spend it will begin to improve your personal time management and increase productivity immediately.

I used to think that time management was only a business tool, like a calculator or a cell phone.

It was something that you used to increase productivity and eventually be paid more money. Then I learned that time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.

“Look upon time management as a vehicle that can take you from wherever you are today, to wherever you want to be in the future.” – Brian Tracy

“Look upon time management as a vehicle that can take you from wherever you are today, to wherever you want to be in the future.” – Brian Tracy

Eat That Frog!

“The first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog.” – Mark Twain

Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat that frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worse things that is going to happen to you all day long.

Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.

If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first. This is another way of saying that if you have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first.

Discipline yourself to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else.

If You Have To Eat A Live Frog At All, It Doesn’t Pay To Sit And Look At It For Very Long

The key to reaching high levels of time management, performance, and productivity is to develop the lifelong habit of tackling your major task first thing each morning.

You must develop the routine of “eating your frog” before you do anything else and without taking too much time to think about it.

Successful, effective people are those who launch directly into their major tasks and then discipline themselves to work steadily and single-mindedly until those tasks are complete.

“Failure to execute” is one of the biggest problems in organizations today. Many people confuse activity with accomplishment. They talk continually, hold endless meetings, and make wonderful plans, but in the final analysis, no one does the job and gets the results required.

There Are No Shortcuts

Practice is the key to mastering any skill.

Fortunately, your mind is like a muscle. It grows stronger and more capable with use. With practice, you can learn any behavior or develop any habit that you consider either desirable or necessary.

What is your “frog?” What is the one task that you despise doing each day? Once you have chosen your “frog” make it a habit to wake up every morning and do that task first.

How to Manage Time Effectively

In order to make more money, you must learn how to manage time effectively. There are two major sources of value in the world of work today. The first is time and the second is knowledge.

Today, time is the currency of modern business. By using these 5 techniques to manage your time, you will put yourself on the fast track to success.

1. Develop A Sense Of Urgency

The most important measure of time is speed. The most important quality that you can develop with regard to time management is a “sense of urgency.”

A sense of urgency is the habit of moving fast when opportunity presents itself to you. Develop a bias for action. Fast tempo is essential to success. All successful people not only work hard, hard, hard, but they work fast, fast, fast!

2. Stop Procrastinating

Procrastination is not only the thief of time; it is the thief of life. You must develop the time management habit of moving quickly when something needs to be done. You must develop a reputation for speed and dependability.

As a general rule, small tasks should be done immediately, as soon as they appear. This habit of taking action quickly will enable you to get through an enormous amount of work in a day. It will earn you a reputation for being the kind of person to give jobs to when someone needs them done quickly.

3. Work In Real Time

Whenever possible, do your work in “real time,” as soon as it comes up. Stay focused and do it now. It is amazing how much time you can waste by picking up a task and looking at it or starting it, and then putting it down and coming back to it again and again.

General Time Management Skills

The preparation that you make in the evening for the day ahead will have an enormous effect on how successful you are. Here are some general time management skills that anyone can do that will help you get more done.

1. Always Think On Paper

Take a piece of paper and write down everything you intend to do. Include everything, even your plans to eat a healthy lunch and workout, prepare dinner for you and your family, every detail.

Then organize the piece of paper by asking yourself: “If I could only do one thing on this list today, which one thing would it be?”

And if I could only do two things which would be the second and the third? And then when you start first thing in the morning, start off with number one, and discipline yourself to work only on number one until it’s complete. Then move on to number two.

2. Avoid Distractions Like Email and Media

Checking your email in the morning makes getting off track entirely too easy. It starts with just one email, and before you know it, you’re several hours into your day and you still haven’t started on your number one task.

Keep your phone away from you or off to avoid distractions from your most important task.

3. Make Your List Of Written Tasks The Night Before

The final way for you to make sure you have a productive next day is to make this list of goals and tasks the night before.

Your ability to make good plans before you act is a measure of your overall competence. The better plan you have, the easier it is for you to overcome procrastination, to get started and then to keep going.

By writing down your goals before you go to sleep, you will think about the things you need to do and mentally prepare yourself to do them before you even wake up the next morning.

When you plan each day in advance, organize your list by priority, and stick to your plan, the work will go faster and smoother than ever before. You will feel more powerful and competent. You will get more done, faster than you thought possible. Eventually, you will become unstoppable.

Time Management Tool: Make a To-Do-List

Make a To-Do-List for Every Day

When you consider how helpful planning can be in increasing your productivity and performance, it is amazing how few people practice it every single day. And planning is really quite simple to do. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen.

The most sophisticated technology, time management apps are based on the same principle. Making a list is one of the best time management tools you can develop.

Make Your To-Do-Lists a Habit

Always work from a list. When something new comes up, add it to the list before you do it. You can increase your productivity and output by 25% or more from the first day that you begin working consistently from a list.

Make out your list the night before, at the end of the workday. Move everything that you have not yet accomplished onto your list for the coming day and then add everything that you have to do the next day.

When you make out your list the evening or the night before, your subconscious mind works on your list all night long while you sleep. Often you will wake up with great ideas and insights that you can use to get your job done faster and better than you had initially thought.

The more time you take to make written lists of everything you have to do, in advance, the more effective and efficient you will be.

Types of To-Do-Lists

There are different lists that you need for different purposes. First, you should create a master list on which you write down everything you can think of that you want to do sometime in the future. This is the place where you capture every idea that comes to or every new task or responsibility that comes up.  You can then sort out the items later.

Second, you should have a monthly list that you make up at the end of the month for the month ahead. This may contain items transferred from your master list.

Third, you should have a weekly list where you plan your entire week in advance. This is a list that is under construction as you go through the current week.

Finally, you transfer items from your monthly and weekly lists onto your daily list. These are the specific activities that you are going to accomplish that day.

Check Off Your Completed Tasks

As you work through the day, tick off the items on your list as you complete them. This activity gives you a visual picture of accomplishment. It generates a feeling of success and forward motion.  Seeing yourself working progressively through your list motivates and energizes you. It raises your self-esteem and self-respect. Steady, visible progress propels you forward and helps you to overcome procrastination.

Time Management Tools for The Office

One of the great time management tips is to work from a clean desk, and in an organized workspace. Just as an excellent chef cleans up the entire kitchen before and after cooking, you should organize your workspace completely before you begin your work.

1. Organize Your Desktop

Put all of your documents away in the appropriate files, both physical and online.  Keep your computer desktop clean. If you cannot see your screensaver, there is too much on your screen.

Many people believe that they work more effectively in a messy work environment with a cluttered desk.  However, every study that has been done with these people shows that when they are forced to clean up their work environment so that they have only one task in front of them, their productivity doubles and triples, usually overnight.

2. How To Organize Your Desk With Proper Supplies

Get organized and stay organized.  Make sure your office supplies and materials are fully stocked and available at hand.  You will find that nothing is more destructive to efficiency and effectiveness than having to start a job and then stop, and then start again, for lack of proper preparation or supplies.

People who work with cluttered desks, are found to spend an enormous amount of each working day looking for the materials they need among the clutter around them. Psychologically, the sight of a cluttered desk or office provides visual subconscious feedback that reinforces your perception that you are disorganized.  It leads to continuous distraction as your eyes and your attention dart from item to item, and back again.

Time Management Tools for Email

Keep your inbox clean and organized. If you don’t need an email, delete it. Pick a couple times during the day to answer all of your emails at once. Don’t just answer them as they come.

There are some people who are slaves to their email. They have a bell that goes off each time a new message comes in, whatever they are doing they turn immediately to their inbox to check it.

In effect, they “switch tasks” and then return to what it was they were doing, immediately losing momentum, clarity and output on their most important tasks.

You will be much more productive if you set out time to answer all of your emails at once than to answer them each as they come.

Answer All of Your Emails at the Same Time

When answering email, bundle them all together and do them at the same time. Don’t answer them as they come in. Do all your similar tasks at the same time rather than doing a little bit now and a little bit later.

Batching your tasks simply means doing similar things at the same time. There exists a “learning curve” in everything you do. When you complete a series of similar or identical tasks all in a row, the learning curve enables you to reduce the time required to complete each task by as much as 80 percent by the time you complete the fifth identical task.

Keep Your Emails Short and Sweet

You should make a decision not to allow your inbox to control your life, like the tail wagging the dog. Instead, discipline yourself to use your email as a business tool. Make your responses quick and to the point.

If your responses are quick, it will free up more time to get through more emails and make all correspondence easier to read.

Create Email Folders

If you manage multiple email addresses on one account, create a filter and label for each account. This way you will know what emails are personal and which ones are business related. You can save personal messages for later without having to read through them. This will leave you with your more important tasks.

Check Your Email Twice a Day

Manage your email only twice a day or less. Even better, leave your email off on the weekends and spend more time with your family and friends, and in your personal activities.

Check it once in the morning after you have been at work for a few hours, answer any new emails you may have. This will free up your morning for the most important things you have to do for the day.

Check it once more in the late afternoon after lunch. After that, leave it alone until tomorrow and focus on all of the other work that you have to get done.

Some of the most productive people I know have an automatic response to their email. It says something like, “I only answer my email twice a day because of my busy schedule. If you have sent me an email, I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can. If this is an emergency, call this number and speak to this person.”

“Resist reverse or upward delegation. Don’t let others hand the job back to you.” – Time Management Tip by Brian Tracy

How to Manage Time Better

There are three cores in which people spend their time – conversations, thoughts, and actions. How you are managing your time within each of those categories will determine how successful you are in life. No amount of money or resources can get back lost and wasted time.

Learning how to manage time better is crucial to leading a fulfilled life and successful career.

Start to evaluate how you are spending time by keeping a record of what is requiring the most time and attention in your day to day life.

Determining which tasks require the most time is the first step in constructing a plan to be more productive.

How Can I Make Better Use of My Time?

Depending on what you are doing, time can fly by or it can crawl by. Although you may be busy throughout the day, that does not equate to productivity. By managing time more wisely, you will minimize the time you waste in a day and increase your productivity.

Create a list of the most important tasks and allot time for each task. Holding yourself to the allotted time will provide a foreseeable goal and maintain your energy and productivity. Structuring in occasional breaks is very necessary.

Working past the point of your max will leave you unmotivated and less productive. Eliminate tasks that are unnecessary and require you to invest a lot of time. Find shorter substitutes to the tasks that are essential to your day, but are not on the top list of tasks.

Having a clear goal, organized time to work, and set time to decompress will make you happier and will help you manage your time more wisely.

Time Management Tips to Avoid

It is important that you never trust to luck when you plan a project. Hope is not a strategy. Remember the words of Napoleon, when he was asked if he believed in luck. He said, “Yes, I believe in luck. I believe in bad luck. And I believe that I will always have it, so I plan accordingly.”

There are four main problems in time management. Each of them can be avoided by taking the time to think carefully before embarking on a new project.

1. Not Allowing Enough Time

The first is not allowing enough time to complete a multi-task job. This is the primary reason why projects fail and people’s careers get sidetracked or torpedoed. They hope for the best, trust to luck and don’t allow a sufficient cushion of time to complete every step of the project. As a result, the project fails.

2. Assuming the Best

The second problem is assuming that everything will work out all right.

“Errant assumptions lie at the root of every failure.” – Alex McKenzie

Never assume that everything will work out all right. Assume that you are going to have problems. Allow yourself sufficient time and resources to solve those problems and keep the project on schedule.

3. Rushing at the End

The third problem in time management is when you end up rushing at the end. When you rush to complete a project, because you have run out of time or money, you almost invariably make mistakes and do poor quality work that you have to go back and correct later. It actually takes less time to finish a project correctly if you work at it slowly and steadily and do it properly in the first place.

4. Trying to Do Several Things at Once

The fourth problem in project management is trying to do several things at once, and you ending up doing nothing well. You either take on too much at a time, including too many responsibilities yourself, or you assign too many responsibilities to other people. In either case, various parts of the project fall through the cracks and sometimes all the effort is lost. Do things one at a time, and do each thing well before moving to the next task.

Time Management Prioritization Techniques

The more thought you invest into setting priorities before you begin a task, the faster you will get the important things done. The more important and valuable the task is to you, the more motivated you are to overcome procrastination and launch yourself into the job. Try these prioritization techniques.

“The first law of success is concentration – to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right or to the left.” – William Matthews

Time Management Tool: The ABCDE Method

The ABCDE Method is a powerful priority setting technique that you can use every single day. This technique is so simple and effective that it can make you one of the most efficient and effective people in your field. The ABCDE list is a to-do list on steroids when it comes to learning how to prioritize.

The power of this technique lies in its simplicity because it’s so action oriented.

Here’s how it works: You start with a list of everything you have to do for the coming day. Think on paper. Once you have a list of all of the tasks you must complete, start the ABCDE method.

“A” Items Are Most Important

An A item is defined as something that is very important. This is something that you must do.

This is a task for which there can be serious consequences if you fail to do it. Consequences such as not visiting a key customer or not finishing a report for your boss that she needs for an upcoming board meeting.

These are the frogs of your life.

If you have more than one “A” task, you prioritize these tasks by writing A-1, A-2, A-3, and so on in front of each item. Your A-1 task is your biggest, ugliest frog of all.

“B” Items Only Have Minor Consequences

A B item is defined as a task that you should do. But it only has mild consequences.

These are the tadpoles of your work life. This means that someone may be unhappy or inconvenienced if you don’t do it, but it is nowhere as important as an A task. Returning an unimportant telephone message or reviewing your email would be a B task.

The rule is that you should never do a B task when there is an A task left undone. You should never be distracted by a tadpole when there is a big frog sitting there waiting to be eaten.

“C” Tasks Have No Consequences

A C task is something that would be nice to do, but for which there are no consequences at all, whether you do it or not.

C tasks include phoning a friend, having coffee or lunch with a coworker or completing some personal business during work hours. This sort of activity has no effect at all on your work life.

As a rule, you can never complete a C task when there are B or A tasks left undone.

“D” For Delegate

A D activity is something that you can delegate to someone else.

The rule is that you should delegate everything that you possibly can to other people. This frees up more time for you to engage in your A activities. Your A tasks and their completion, largely determine the entire course of your career.

“E” For Eliminate

An E activity is something that you should eliminate altogether.

After all, you can only get your time under control if you stop doing things that are no longer necessary for you to do.

The key to making this ABCDE Method work is for you to now discipline yourself to start immediately on your “A-1” task. Stay at it until it is complete. Use your willpower to get going on this one job, the single most important task you could possibly be doing.

Eat the whole frog and don’t stop until it’s finished completely.

Spend Your Time On Valuable Activities

Your ability to think through and analyze your work list to determine your “A-1” task is the springboard to higher levels of accomplishment. It also leads to greater self-esteem, self-respect and personal pride.

When you develop the habit of concentrating on your “A-1,” you will start getting more done than other people around you.

Make a rule for yourself to never do anything that isn’t on your list. If a new task or project comes up, write it down on your list and set a priority for it before you start work on it.

If you react and respond to the nonstop demands on your time, you will quickly lose control of your day.  You end up spending most of your time on activities of low or no value.

Review you work list right now and put an A, B, C, D, or E next to each task or activity. Select your A-1 job or project and begin on it immediately. Discipline yourself to do nothing else until this one job is complete. It will become one of the best time management tools you can use.

Time management behaviors are very much a matter of choice:

You choose to be efficient or you choose to be disorganized. You choose to focus and concentrate on your highest-value tasks, or you choose to spend your time on activities that contribute little value to your life. You choose to be positive or you choose to be negative.

And you are always free to choose your quality of life.

The starting point of overcoming your previous programming, and eliminating the mental blocks to time management, is for you to make a clear, unequivocal decision to become excellent at the way you use your time.

Your aim should be to manage your time so well that people look up to you and use you as a role model for their own work habits.

Here are four mental exercises that you can use to increase productivity and program yourself for peak performance to improve your entire life.

Time Management for Work-Life Balance

Finding work-life balance is hugely important. You must be able to balance your career and your home life. Time management is a great way to better achieve this. Here are four time management tips for work-life balance.

1. Use Positive Affirmations

My first tip is to harness the power of positive affirmations. Positivity will change your quality of life and is the first of these methods for programming your subconscious mind is “positive self-talk,” or the use of positive affirmations.

These are commands that you pass from your conscious mind to your subconscious mind. Positive affirmations are statements that you either say out loud or say to yourself with the emotion and enthusiasm that drives the words into your subconscious mind as new operating instructions.

Begin by repeating this positive affirmation over and over to yourself.

“I am excellent at time management! I am excellent at time management!”

Any command or positive affirmation repeated over and over again in a spirit of faith, acceptance, and belief, will eventually be accepted by your subconscious mind. My favorite time management affirmation is this:

“I use my time well. I use my time well. I use my time well.”

You will then find that your external behaviors will start to reflect your internal programming to improve your work-life balance and quality of life.

2. Use Visualization To Program Your Subconscious Mind

The second technique that you can use to program your subconscious mind is through visualization. Mental pictures most immediately influence your subconscious mind. In self-image psychology, the person you see is the person you will be through positive affirmations. Begin to see yourself as well organized, efficient and effective in time management.

Recall and recreate memories and pictures of yourself when you were performing at your best. Think of a time when you were working efficiently and effectively, and getting through an enormous amount of work. Play this picture of yourself over and over again on the screen of your mind.

3. Relax, And Meditate

The third time management method is simple. First, you sit or lie in a quiet place where you can be completely alone in the silence. Through positive affirmations, imagine yourself going through an important upcoming experience, such as a meeting, a presentation, a negotiation or even a date that would improve your work-life balance and your quality of life.

As you sit or lie completely relaxed, create a picture of the coming event and see it unfolding perfectly in every respect. See yourself as calm, positive, happy and in complete control. See the other people doing and saying exactly what you would want them to do if the situation was perfect.

Here is a simple meditation technique my friend Jack Canfield uses to quiet his mind which is slightly different:

  1. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, and focus on slowing down your breathing
  2. Repeat an uplifting word or phrase
  3. Move into a state of quiet
  4. Imagine yourself surrounded by a sphere of light

4. Imagine You Are Excellent At Time Management

The fourth mental technique is to imagine that you are already excellent at time management. Imagine that you have been selected for a role in a movie or stage play.

In this role, you are to act the part of a person who is extremely well organized in every respect. As you go through your daily life, imagine you are an actor who is playing this part, who is already very good at time management. Act as if you are already using your time efficiently and well.

Pretend that you are an expert in personal efficiency and time management. When you pretend that you are excellent in time management, eventually the action, which is under your direct control, will develop the mindset or the belief in your subconscious mind.

People resolve, over and over again, to get serious about time management by focusing, setting better priorities and overcoming procrastination. They intend to get serious about time management sometime, but unfortunately, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Time Management Motivation

For you to develop sufficient desire to develop time management and organizational skills, you must be intensely motivated by the benefits you feel you will enjoy. You must want the results badly enough to overcome the natural inertia that keeps you doing things the same old way.

If everyone agrees that excellent time management is a desirable skill, why is it that so few people can be described as “well organized, effective and efficient?” Over the years, I have found that many people have ideas about time management that are simply not true.

Here is the key:Structure and organize everything that you possibly can.

Think ahead, plan for contingencies, prepare thoroughly, and focus on specific results. Only then can you be completely relaxed and spontaneous when the situation changes.

The better organized you are in the factors that are under your control, the greater freedom and flexibility you have to quickly make changes whenever they are necessary.

Do you have any time management tecniques that you swear by? Leave a comment below.

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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

Whether you care about time management or not, you have to manage your use of time management strategies that will help you manage your work efficiently.

22 Effective Time Management Strategies for Work

efficient time management

A lot of folks in our society try to be hyper-productive.

You know — the people who scurry from task to task, always checking e-mail, organizing something, making a call, running an errand, etc.

The people who do this often subscribe to the idea that “staying busy” means you’re working hard and are going to be more successful.

While this belief may be true to an extent, it often leads to mindless “productivity” — a constant need to do something and a tendency to waste time on menial tasks.

Instead of behaving in this way, I choose to do things differently.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

The old adage, “work smarter, not harder” has become a staple in the way I go about work of any kind.

Instead of being robotic in how I approach tasks, I try to be thoughtful and always ask myself if something can be done more efficiently or eliminated altogether.

Managing my time isn’t about squeezing as many tasks into my day as possible. It’s about simplifying how I work, doing things faster, and relieving stress.

It’s about clearing away space in my life to make time for people, play, and rest.

I promise you — there really are enough hours in a day for everything you’d like to do, but it may take a bit of rearranging and re-imagining to find them.

21 Time Management Tips

I compiled this list of 21 tips to hopefully nudge you in the right direction.

Remember: There are innumerable hacks and tricks to manage your time effectively. These are some tips that I find helpful, but everyone is different.

Let this list be a catalyst to get you thinking regularly about how to refine your own practices.

1. Complete most important tasks first.

This is the golden rule of time management. Each day, identify the two or three tasks that are the most crucial to complete, and do those first.

Once you’re done, the day has already been a success. You can move on to other things, or you can let them wait until tomorrow. You’ve finished the essential.

2. Learn to say “no”.

Making a lot of time commitments can teach us how to juggle various engagements and manage our time. This can be a great thing.

However, you can easily take it too far. At some point, you need to learn to decline opportunities. Your objective should be to take on only those commitments that you know you have time for and that you truly care about.

3. Sleep at least 7-8 hours.

Some people think sacrificing sleep is a good way to hack productivity and wring a couple extra hours out of the day. This is not the case.

Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep for their bodies and minds to function optimally. You know if you’re getting enough. Listen to your body, and don’t underestimate the value of sleep.

4. Devote your entire focus to the task at hand.

Close out all other browser windows. Put your phone away, out of sight and on silent. Find a quiet place to work, or listen to some music if that helps you (I enjoy listening to classical or ambient music while writing sometimes).

Concentrate on this one task. Nothing else should exist. Immerse yourself in it.

5. Get an early start.

Nearly all of us are plagued by the impulse to procrastinate. It seems so easy, and you always manage to get it done eventually, so why not?

Take it from a recovering chronic procrastinator — it’s so much nicer and less stressful to get an earlier start on something. It isn’t that difficult either, if you just decide firmly to do it.

6. Don’t allow unimportant details to drag you down.

We often allow projects to take much, much longer than they could by getting too hung up on small details. I’m guilty of this. I’ve always been a perfectionist.

What I’ve found, though, is that it is possible to push past the desire to constantly examine what I’ve done so far. I’m much better off pressing onward, getting the bulk completed, and revising things afterward.

7. Turn key tasks into habits.

Writing is a regular task for me. I have to write all the time — for school, work, my student organization, my blog, etc. I probably write 5,000 – 7,000 words per week.

The amount of writing I do may seem like a lot to most people, but it’s very manageable for me, because it’s habitual. I’ve made it a point to write something every day for a long time.

I rarely break this routine. Because of this, my mind is in the habit of doing the work of writing. It has become quite natural and enjoyable. Could you do something similar? (Read “The Simple, Powerful Guide to Forming Any New Habit“)

8. Be conscientious of amount of TV/Internet/gaming time.

Time spent browsing Twitter or gaming or watching TV and movies can be one of the biggest drains on productivity.

I suggest becoming more aware of how much time you spend on these activities. Simply by noticing how they’re sucking up your time you’ll begin to do them less.

9. Delineate a time limit in which to complete task.

Instead of just sitting down to work on a project and thinking, “I’m going to be here until this is done,” try thinking, “I’m going to work on this for three hours”.

The time constraint will push you to focus and be more efficient, even if you end up having to go back and add a bit more later.

10. Leave a buffer-time between tasks.

When we rush from task to task, it’s difficult to appreciate what we’re doing and to stay focused and motivated.

Allowing ourselves down-time between tasks can be a breath of fresh air for our brains. While taking a break, go for a short walk, meditate, or perform some other mind-clearing exercise.

11. Don’t think of the totality of your to-do list.

One of the fastest ways to overwhelm yourself is to think about your massive to-do list. Realize that no amount of thought will make it any shorter.

At this point in time, all you can do is focus on the one task before you. This one, single, solitary task. One step at a time. Breathe.

12. Exercise and eat healthily.

Numerous studies have linked a healthy lifestyle with work productivity. Similar to getting enough sleep, exercising and eating healthily boost energy levels, clear your mind, and allow you to focus more easily.

13. Do less.

This is a tactic recommended by one of my favorite bloggers, Leo Babauta. Basically, do less is another way of saying do the things that really matter.

Slow down, notice what needs to be done, and concentrate on those things. Do less things that create more value, rather than more things that are mostly empty.

14. Utilize weekends, just a little bit.

One of my favorite memes depicts a gentleman casting his work aside, declaring, “It’s Friday! F#%$88u this shit.” The following image reads “Monday”, and the man is stooping to pick up the papers he’d tossed to the ground.

This is comical, but I’ve found that it’s amazing how doing just a little bit on weekends can really lessen the workload during the week. Aim for 2-4 hours per day. You’ll still leave yourself plenty of free time for activities.

15. Create organizing systems.

Being organized saves tons of time, and you don’t have to be the most ultra-organized person in the world either. Systems aren’t complicated to implement.

Create a filing system for documents. Make sure all items have a place to be stored in your dwelling. Unsubscribe from e-mail lists if you don’t want to receive their content. Streamline, streamline, streamline.

16. Do something during waiting time.

We tend to have a lot of down-time where we don’t try to do much. Waiting rooms, lines at the store, time on the subway, on the elliptical at the gym, etc.

Find things to do during this time. I tend to have a lot of reading for classes, so I bring some of it almost everywhere I go and read during waiting time.

17. Lock yourself in.

No distractions, no excuses. Sometimes, the only way I’m going to get something done is if I’m under lock and key, alone in a room. If you’re like me, realize it, and act accordingly.

18. Commit to your plan to do something.

I kind of mentioned this already, but it’s worth repeating. Don’t flake on your own plan to do something!

Be resolute. Be committed. Be professional about it, and follow through. A firm will to accomplish what you decide to accomplish will take you anywhere.

19. Batch related tasks together.

Let’s say that over a given weekend you need to do two programming assignments, write three essays, and make two videos. Rather than approaching this work in whatever order you feel, group the like tasks and do them consecutively.

Different tasks demand different types of thinking, so it makes sense to allow your mind to continue to flow with its current zone rather than switching unnecessarily to something that’s going to require you to re-orient.

20. Find time for stillness.

In our go, go, go world, too many people don’t find time to just be still. Yet, it’s extraordinary what a stillness practice can do. Action and inaction should both play key roles in our lives.

Discovering time in your life for silence and non-motion reduces anxiety and shows you that there is no need to constantly rush. It also makes it easier to find your work pleasurable.

21. Eliminate the non-essential.

I know this one has been mentioned in one capacity or another already, but it’s one of the most useful tips you can take away from this post.

Our lives are full of excess. When we can identify that excess and remove it, we become more and more in touch with what is significant and what deserves our time.

One Last Tip (The Best One)

There’s one final tip I want to mention. If you remember one thing from this post, remember this:

Enjoyment should always be the goal. Work can be play.

We get so caught up in busyness that we forget to enjoy what we’re doing. Even when we focus on working smarter, we’re still often too focused on getting things done.

This should never be the point. Always ask yourself: What can I do to spend more time enjoying what I’m doing?

The goal should be to arrange your commitments in a way that you’re happy living out the details of your daily life, even while you’re working.

This may sound like a pipe dream, but it’s more possible than ever in today’s world. Be curious. Be open to opportunity. Know yourself. Embrace your passions.

Wonderful things will happen. Best of luck implementing these tips, and let me know if I can do anything else to help you.

Your Friend,
Jordan Bates

P.S. ‘Like’ Refine The Mind on Facebook here to stay in the know.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

This article originally appeared at Refine The Mind. 


Many of my friends were surprised of how I manage to do so much and still enjoy my life. Here, I would like to present you the main principles of efficient time.

efficient time management
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