The Down & Dirty on Time Management: My Top 10 Tips

Clock from BehindWe all have a million demands on our time. None of us are immune to meetings, email, voice mail, deadlines, doctor’s appointments, bills to pay, kids to pick up, etc. But if you’re not taking an active role in how you spend your time, then you’re allowing life to spend you.

It’s almost too easy to let life take control and run away with the little bit of time you have left in your calendar. If you allow it, your time will get eaten up by a gazillion things that have nothing to do with what you value.

As I’ve built my businesses over the past 12 years, I find that I’m always looking for the best time management tools and hacks. Remember, focused intention + action = massive results. Self management is the key to making this equation work for you.

Here are my 10 best tips – the ones that continue to work for me and produce REAL results:

    1. Eat That Frog! Prioritize and do the most difficult thing on your to-do list FIRST. Once you get the hard stuff out of the way, other tasks will feel like a breeze.

 

    1. Every day before you leave the office (or before you go to bed), write down the top THREE things that must get done the next day. Not necessarily the most urgent, but those things that will propel you forward, make you money and are aligned with your values and goals. Do these first, right after you swallow that frog.

 

    1. Do a brain dump. Before you go to bed, make a list of all the things you have to do – everything that’s on your mind. Bring the list with you to the office the next day and incorporate items into your master to-do list and calendar. I promise, you’ll sleep much better at night!

 

    1. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. Break down large projects into manageable, bite-sized pieces. Schedule these pieces into your calendar and take action on them – one at a time. You’ll find the elephant’s not so scary when eaten in little pieces.

 

    1. Set a timer. Whether it’s 20 minutes or 60 minutes, turn off all distractions such as your phone and computer, and commit to focusing on ONE project for the designated amount of time. When the buzzer goes off, pat yourself on the back and take a 15 minute break.

 

    1. Keep household clutter under control by doing a few chores each day instead of leaving it all until the end of the week.

 

    1. Spend the last 20 minutes at your office clearing out your inbox and straightening your desk. It always surprises me how much I can accomplish when I set my timer for 20 minutes and clear off my desk and empty my inbox. It’s so much nicer to come into your office in the morning with everything neat and in its place – with your to-do list front and center!

 

    1. Just say NO to time-consuming activities that really aren’t important to you and aren’t aligned with your values. We only have a precious amount of time each day – don’t waste yours with things that aren’t meaningful to you.

 

    1. Be ruthless about delegation. Make a list of all those things in your business that could be done by someone else. Things like scheduling, bookkeeping, administrative tasks, errands, etc. Now hire someone to help you with these tasks so you can spend more time in your “zone of genius” and actually make more money!

 

  1. Give yourself some breathing room every day. Whether it’s meditation, yoga, walking your dog or just stopping and breathing for 10 minutes, you’ll be much better prepared to handle all of the tasks at hand, when you take a little time for YOU first.

 

© Liz Dennery Sanders 2012

Comments

  1. Christina Ambubuyog says:

    Hi Liz!

    thanks for this!  Time management and I have a dramatic love affair 🙂  I really like #3 Do a Brain Dump… I shall incorporate that into my day!

    XO!
    Christina

    • Liz Dennery Sanders says:

      Hi Christina!
      I think you’ll notice a big difference, just by adding this one tool to your day. Thanks for commenting and have a great weekend! xo

  2. Thanks for this! I use my Voice Notes recorder on my iPhone for the “brain dump”. It’s such a great way to get clear if I’m heading into a client meeting or feeling super overwhelmed. 

    • Liz Dennery Sanders says:

      Hi Hilary,
      What a great tip – to use the Voice Notes recorder on your iPhone. I’m going to try this one! xo

  3. Cate Stilman says:

    thanks, Liz. Now, I need to actually follow your advise.

    • Liz Dennery Sanders says:

      Hi Cate,
      I encourage you to pick just one or two tips from the list and start with those. Once you’ve incorporated them into your daily/weekly routine, then pick another one.

      Please let me know how you do with them! xo

  4. Hi Liz, this article hit a chord with me because I find it easy to get scattered, especially when you have a huge to-do list. Having systems in place will really be helpful.

    • Liz Dennery Sanders says:

      Hi Florence,
      As entrepreneurs, I think we all often feel scattered, with a million to-do’s! It’s important to acknowledge that our to-do lists never end, and it’s completely up to us to pick the most important priorities each day, and tackle those first.

      Then we just need to give ourselves a break! 🙂

      Thanks so much for commenting, and let me know which tips you decide to incorporate into your day. xo

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