Time Management 101: Part Three: 10 Practical Suggestions

We talked about time wasters and last week we talked about setting priorities. In today’s final time management post I would like to offer a few practical suggestions to take with you in your daily life. I am sure you know these already; but, if you are anything like me, a little reminder never hurts! 🙂


1. Make a List. At the end of your day or first thing in the morning, take a few minutes to go over the things you need to do and put them in order of importance.

2. Have everything you need. Make sure you have everything you need before starting your work (or project) so you do not have to waste time going back and forth looking for or getting what you need.

3. Stop procrastinating. When you get to your work desk, or wherever you are working, get right to the task at hand.  Easier said than done, I know. It takes discipline to stay away when Facebook or Twitter or email (or even the dishes!) is beckoning, to you. 🙂 You know this: putting things off wastes time and become a burden, so in the words of a famous footwear commercial, “Just Do It!”

4. Do first things first. In other words, try to do either the most important thing or your least favored thing first. If you get it out of the way early in the day, then you won’t have to worry about getting done.

5. Set time limits. Set a time limit for checking email, answering calls, and/or other projects and stick to it. Use a timer or your favorite time tracking software so you don’t waste more time then what you planned on. And, when the time goes off, STOP. Do not fall into the trap of  “one more email” or “one more minute to…”

6. Just say no. Yes, I know how difficult it is to say no sometimes; but, you do not HAVE to do everything someone asks you to do. At the very least, do not answer right away. Give yourself some space to decide how you want to respond.

7. Do one thing at a time. It may seem counter-productive (especially in this multi-taking society), but focusing on one task at a time is more productive and actually faster.

8. Ignore the phone and email. You do not have to answer every email as it comes in or answer the phone every time it rings. Set a specific time once or twice a day to check email and answer phone calls.

9. Delegate. Delegate, delegate, delegate. If you are not good at it, not jazzed about it, or do not HAVE to it yourself turn it over to an assistant or other professional. If you do not have an administrative professional, you may want to consider partnering with one.

10. Take a break. Finally, do not forget to take a break. No matter how busy a person is, we all need some time to recoup and rejuvenate.

I hope you find these tips to be useful. Now I would love to hear from you. Do you have your own time management tip to share? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

In case you want to print out these suggestions for future use, you can download the cheat sheet here. (Subscribers: go to your private page to access this sheet.)