Today’s article is brought to us by a guest author, Justin Hardin.
We all wish we had more time in our days. We feels strongly that managing your time well can make all the difference in your productivity. Here are some of our top time management strategies:
1. Keep a To-Do List:
Create a To-Do List at the end of each day. When you start work the next day, complete the most difficult thing on that list first before moving on. Brian Tracy calls it “Eating That Frog!” The rest of the day will feel like a breeze after you’ve tackled eating a slimy amphibian! As you finish your To-Do’s, cross them off your list, and add more that come up. Be sure to update the To-Do list by priority/importance. There are many, many apps for To-Do lists and many of them synch across your devices, choosing one is a matter of personal preferences, but pen and paper can work just as well.
2. Chunk Time:
Schedule chunks of time on your calendar for everything you need to accomplish during the day/week/month. Be sure to build in time for planning and reflection. The key here is to review how you spent the time at the end of each day, week and month. Was your time productive? What needs to change? Make that change by plugging in time for something else… like family time! This is an old concept, Drucker talked about it several times in his books calling it Blocking. Making sure the important things are scheduled will give you breathing room and help you be much more productive.
3. The Early Bird Gets The Worm:
Rise early. Working before the rest of the household or office is up and at ‘em can yield extremely productive results. Try it. Tony lives obsessively by this rule waking up every weekday at 5 am. He experimented with getting up earlier and earlier but found that 4:30 am or earlier didn’t add any extra productivity. Find what works for you. One tip: In order to wake up early, you have to go to bed early. For Tony, it’s 10 pm bedtime-5 am wakeup time. It’ll be different for everyone, but we can guarantee the earlier you go to bed the earlier you’ll be able to get up. Remember what grandma told you: Nothing good happens after 10 pm!
As far as we know Betty White has never actually told anyone that nothing good happens after 10 pm, but we couldn’t think of a more adorable grandma figure.
4. Don’t Be A Slave to Your Smart Phone:
Schedule time for email and phone calls. Make sure folks can get ahold of you-if it’s urgent. Only check your email/voice messages 2-3 times per day-if that. Justin implemented this practice in 2015, and his productivity has gone through the roof. He now has more time to spend with his Team, his family, and for pursuing his CPCU & MBA. All this while still exceeding company and individual goals. Tim Ferris, author of “The 4-Hour Work Week” has some fantastic examples on his website of what to leave on your voicemail and email out-of-office reply. You’ll want to create voice mail and out of office replies that explains why you’re not immediately available-which should be to bring more value to your customer by doing more productive things during the day. Tony hasn’t quite made this change but is a big fan of Manager Tools and they are BIG advocates of this.
If somebody else can do it, then let them! We are strong believers that tasks that can be delegated, should be delegated, it’s good for the company, good for you and good for the person that is getting experience that will someday help them get promoted to your level. The less you have on your plate means you can fill it up with those “frogs” and really accomplish some great things!
We can’t tell you how to create a 25 hour day, but these tips might help you feel like you’ve got an extra hour or two. Remember, even the most magically productive people in the world only get 24 hours in the day, it’s all about how you manage them!
Try them out and let us know what you think, or if you have a secret that works well!
This article was largely written by guest author Justin Hardin.