Time Management Tips For The Man On The March

You can work hard, or you can work smart. Or you can work hard AND smart. Or just jack it in and go to the pub.

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of the time you DO allot to the serious business of business:

Get an early start.

Dawn is a magical time of day. The morning is fresh and so are you. Noise, bother and interruptions increase and the day wears on. Energy flags.

Get your best work done while everyone else is just getting started.

Commit to your plan to do something.

When you've done something, you get a sense of accomplishment. You can tick it off your list. The world is full of has-beens and never-weres because they talked a good game down the pub but never saw it through.

Make notes.

Without notes you are relying on memory and memory is fickle. That great idea you had walking in the park is gone by the time you're at your desk. Carry a notebook and use it.

Use a calendar.

Deadlines can creep up like a jaguar in the jungle; quiet and deadly. A paper calendar doesn't need batteries, while a digital one goes 'beep' when you need to do something. Whichever works for you, use it.

Know your deadlines.

Unmet filing deadlines can lead to fines. The presses won't wait because you forgot the cut-off time. Don't be the schmo on the platform watching his train disappear in the distance. Keep physical and mental notes of your deadlines.

Avoid media: phones, emails, internet, Facebook.

These are a huge-timewaster. You answered 50 emails today; did any of that get you nearer today's goals?

Let people know you're not accessible 24/7 and they won't be hurt if you don't immediately hop to their demands.

Prioritise. Complete most important tasks first.

Some tasks are way more important than others. The manager who's as worried about staff parking spaces, as he is about his monthly profit-and-loss, has a mental problem.

Devote your entire focus to the task at hand.

Don't get side-tracked. Get it done, now, and you won't have to look back.

Set a time limit in which to complete task.

Work expands to fill the time available. When you have a gun to your head, you work fast. If you only have 4 things to do today, you'll take all day to do them.


Hey, maybe you don't need to clear out the stationery cupboard yourself? Maybe Monica, your secretary, could do it?

More seriously, suit the man to the task. The captain needs to keep an eye on the horizon while the oarsmen row.

Pay people to do things that would cost you time.

Pay people to do simple, non-essential, limited tasks which can be finished in a set amount of time, cheaply.

Cut off when you need to.

Billionaires tend to be hard workers. So do McDonalds' staff. Hard work, in itself, doesn't get you the prize.

Billionaires get to take holidays as and when they want, and they do. You need to keep your head clear and take stock of where you're going and sitting in front of a computer screen isn't the way to do it.

Remember that it's impossible to get everything done.

There're only 24 hours in the day and you need to eat, sleep and kiss your kids goodnight. So, most things can be put off until tomorrow, especially if it's your health which is at risk.

Stop procrastinating and just do it!

You can develop a mental block over even small tasks. Conversely, you might be surprised what you can accomplish when you just say "Stuff it!" and run for the cliff edge, parachute in hand.

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