Time management requires not only discipline, but sacrifice. Something has to give if you are to work more, or harder, or smarter. It means we give up some free time or some time to pursue other activities, but it also means we can feel accomplished and take pride in a job well done. Of course, the answer isn't always to work more, but to work better. The thing about time is you can't really make it up; every second that ticks away is gone forever, but you can determine how to use the precious time that you still have.
Here are 28 tips on how to best utilize your time.
1. Do not be too focused on too many "have-to-do-nows" because you didn't properly plan previously and now are forced to catch up, thus pushing you away from doing things now for other tasks that will later become urgent rush jobs soon.
2. Remember the 80/20 rule: 80% of your success will come from 20% of your activities. This just means you need to focus on the core actions that generate your most results. Don't get fixated on less-valued, less-productive activities.
3. Think of what you can change, delegate, reduce, dismiss or
delay – and do so. Set your priorities and stick to them. Weigh everything else
against them and don't get distracted. Explore how you do some of the things
you do, such as how you pitch, put lists together, or talk to a client and consider
what can be changed to shorten the process.
4. Clear away distractions - limit personal calls, responding to e-mails not pertaining to work, a messy desk, a chatty person by your work area. There's a time and a place to socialize, look at joke e-mails, Google for airline tix. play solitaire, etc., but it should not take up chunks of time on a regular basis.
5. Put a smaller emphasis on some of the things that you do - your time can be better used than to do all the things you always do. Think of something you can stop doing or do it less often.
6. Set and meet deadlines by setting and meeting mini-deadlines. Set ground rules for all meetings in person or by phone. Essentially, set a time limit n begin meeting to identify topics of discussion. Multi-task as often as you can.
7. Plan ahead and make every minute count. Value your time and be fully aware of how long it takes for you to do something. Think of how you pace yourself as well.
8. Find shortcuts. Bundle errands - do things because there is a real deadline. and sometimes do them because you're in the mood and have momentum. Organize files so you don't spend time fishing for stuff. Control things with good communication. Spend less time in fear or complaint mode -- and simply execute. No one wants to feel behind or at a disadvantage so don't put yourself in such a position. Don't confuse being busy with being productive. Get feedback from others so that you can do things in a more efficient way.
9. Improve your skills - the more proficient you are at something, the less time it will take you to do it.
10. Learn how to terminate a discussion. Control the phone - when to answer, when not. Manage interruptions - simply be unavailable for a period of time.
11. Set goals daily and measure results. Hold yourself accountable to a standard. Have a minimum and a maximum range, so you know where you fall short or where you have fulfilled your obligation. Develop a network of people who can help you. Have pride in your work, but don't be ego-driven. It consumes your time and energy.
12. Make a list of activities/habits that cause you to delay and figure out how to decrease/eliminate them. Plan your next day's work today. Do not leave the office until the next day's work is planned. Think ahead and work backwards from a deadline.
13. Set parameters and boundaries in how you approach work. For instance, designate some time to focus on a task and don't do anything to take you away from that unless there's a true emergency going on.
14. Pace yourself so that you're never having to play catch-up all the time. Never be too far behind.
15. Set daily quotas on the number of calls to be made, e-mails to be sent, and all things to be scheduled.
16. Know how to write shorter e-mails - anything that requires a long e-mail is often best verbalized. But a phone call should only last as long as you need it to - have a goal, address it, and move on. If you need an excuse to get off the phone, say you're being called into a meeting, that you have to catch a train, etc. Or, put them on hold, come back and make it sound like you need to take another call. You can't do these tricks all the time, but it's necessary to get off the phone when the usefulness of the call has been used up.
17. Keep a daily planner and list all of your activities. Or, use various computer functions to schedule your day.
18. Get rid of your OCD-like habits or re-writing lists or client notes - find the shortest, most-direct way to perform a task and stop trying to be a perfectionist that always takes six steps when only two are needed.
19. Think about who is really dictating your standards. Your priorities. Who are you trying to please? If it turns out the standard is unreasonable, it needs to be changed. If it seems like everyone else is telling you how to define your day, you need to seize control of the situation and find a way to get back in charge of what you are doing.
20. Think of how you can shave 5 minutes from every hour of the day. By the end of the day, you now have an extra 30-40 minutes to utilize to your advantage. We can all improve by at least 10%. It begins once you quantify your time and hold yourself accountable for how you spend it.
21. On some crunch days, you might consider coming in 15 minutes earlier, stay 15 minutes later and cut your lunch-hour down by 15 minutes and you now have an extra 45 minutes to be productive.
22. However, more time doesn't always equate into more
production. Working smarter, harder and more efficiently is what does the
trick. Remember you are special, unique, talented, and have the ability to
continually improve upon your current level of success. Never let yourself feel
overwhelmed. psyched out or defeated. Have the confidence to know you will
23. Time management is partly about strategy, but also partly about a frame of mind. If you make it important to be time efficient, all of your actions and thoughts will begin to support that goal.
24. Realize that one hour equals about 2% of your work week after
you factor in lunch. But in the course of a year, once you remove holidays,
vacation, sick days, personal days, and crazy stuff like blizzards, blackouts, etc.,
each hour at work may really equal 3 or 4% of your work-week. Spend it wisely.
25. Improve your skills. Obviously, the faster you perform a
task, the more time you have saved.
26. Identify the self-created pressures that stand in your way of success and address them. Are you binding yourself to rules that really don't exist?
27. Initiate rather than react. Take control of a campaign so you spend more time executing than having to respond to a problem. This means if you are able to do your job without having to constantly put out fires, you save time and avoid aggravation.
28. Keep a log of how you use your time, the way dieters identify what they eat. You'll identify waste and be in a better position to address it.
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Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at email@example.com He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This blog, with over 4,000 posts over the past decade, was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: .