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Time management can be a difficult thing to take control of.  Many of us are looking for time management strategies to help us achieve bigger results in less time.

The things, people, and projects in your life that are high value are often perceived as different that things that are urgent.

In reality though, the only things that matter are the things that are important to you.

How you manage time is simply about removing the distractions and stuff that take us lots of time and doesn’t move you forward and replacing that activity with high value, productive work that makes a real impact.

There is no either or list.  There is just one list.

Does the activity I want to do make the best use of my time.

This is Time Management at it’s simplest.

One time management path to follow

This is just one path to follow, based on absolute clarity about what matters to you in respect of your health, your life, your relationships and your business.

If you don’t have this alignment in your life, the next question is – Is there anything I can do about it?

The good news is there is.

If we all have 24 hours in a day, what time management strategies can we use to be most effective based on our higher purpose?

How can we manage time to live a more joyful, purpose driven life, so we work on the things we know are important, whilst taking action on our urgent responsibilities?

In my experience, there are four time management strategies that actually get results in real life.

They are each part of simple productive system focused on results, not time and effort.

If you take action on each of them, it will improve your life, health, happiness and productivity.

Take a look at each of the five time management strategies and see how you can use them to start managing time more effectively:

1. Take a Time Audit

Do you have clarity on where you’re spending your time each day?

What projects you’re working on?

How many meetings you’re having?

What time you are spending on social media or answering emails?

How much time are you using on high value activities that moves you closer to your goals?  To your true purpose?

Are you dedicating time to serve your clients? To value creation?  To building wealth in your business?

Use this simple time management strategy example below:

Use This Time Audit Example

  • Get a blank piece of paper and draw three lines down the page
  • The First Column is for your ‘High Value Work’
  • Column Two is for your ‘Good Work’
  • The Third column is for ‘Low Value Work

Then write down the amount of time you’re spending in each of these time areas and the activity you’re doing.

This is usually an eye opening experience.

Once you’ve completed the analysis, ask yourself, is this where you want to be spending your time?

If it’s not create a measurable goal to change it today.

Ask yourself how can you eliminate some activities that take up lots of time but don’t move your business forward and expand the time in the areas that create the biggest impact.

2. Cut out low value activities

To improve your time management skills it helps to spend more time doing high value work.

It also becomes equally important to have a ‘Not To Do List’ as creating a powerful list of activities and people that you want to focus your time on.

To manage time more effectively, look at your ‘Good Work’ list and ‘Low Value Work’ list.

Now become a warrior to your own time and start carving out the distractions and work you don’t want to be doing.

Stop drifting from your purpose and getting caught up in small work and other people’s problems.

It’s really easy to spread ourselves paper thin.

To have our attention shift from what we should be doing and what we think we should do.

In a typical day we’re trying to balance the real work that brings us joy and moves us towards our ideal future with the need for messages, emails, social media updates, to-do lists.

Some of the good work will be important but are you the best person to do this?

Can it be outsourced or delegated so your time is focused on creating, serving and achieving?

The best time management strategies are the ones that help you identify clearly where you can leverage your time most effectively.

3. Start Time Blocking

The best way I’ve found to overcome it is to outsource the things I don’t want to do, block out significant time to focus on the most important projects and go deep on learning the techniques that will help me reach my goals.

I carve out half a day, or sometimes a full day, to focus on key projects in my business with no distractions whatsoever.

To ensure I don’t drift I take regular recuperative breaks.

How much more could you achieve if you did the work you needed to do, the way you needed to do it, and eliminated or outsourced the work you really don’t want to do?

4. Do the most important thing first

This is key to effective time management.

Start your day by asking yourself: “What’s the Number One thing I absolutely have to achieve today?”

Once you are clear on that, and you commit to achieving that thing, chances are you WILL actually do the work.

This time management technique will stop the disorder, distractions and chaos from impacting on your day.

The reason.  You have made a conscious decision at the start of the day, when your willpower is strong.

Have you noticed that as the day wears on you have less and less willpower and energy to focus?  So, do the most important thing or things first.

If I have set up calls with a potential client, I do this in the morning.  If I have an important article to write, I again do this in the morning.

Whatever, your most important thing is, if you do that thing first, then you’ll never have a day when you didn’t get something important done.

By following this simple time management strategy, you will usually end up having a very productive day.

5. Reduce the workload, but stick to your plan

You can only complete a small number of big projects or tasks in a day.

When you are clear on the work you are doing, the outcome you want to deliver and the action plan to achieve it then you must decide how important it is and when you deliver it by.

Rather than give yourself 10 things to work on scale that back to the 5 most important ones.

How to Create a Step by Step Project Plan

Create a step by step process for each project and create your own schedule to complete the work.

For example, let’s say your most important activity for the day was to write a sales letter.

You know this work would make a massive difference in how you market your business.

But, during the day you had lots of other queries and problems come up that had to be dealt with.

You are only left with an hour to work on the sales letter rather than the three hours you’ve assigned to it.

So, what do you do?

Option One is to decide that you don’t actually have enough time to complete it so you’ll put it off to another day.

Option Two is to reduce the initial scope of the project.  You know the sales letter was important.  So, you spend an hour laying out the framework and content ideas for the sale letter.

You’ve still achieved something important and have stuck to your original plan to work on the sales letter that day.  given at this point, you have two options.

In my experience, the most effective time management strategies are simple, but effective.

Try these five time management strategies and see where it takes you.

Now it’s over to you.

Which time management strategy will you take action on?

Have I missed a time management strategy that has worked well for you?

Either way, let me know in the comments.

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Mark Pettit Administrator
Strategic Business Coach , Founder, Lucemi Consulting
About the Author Mark Pettit is a leading 1:1 business coach to ambitious entrepreneurs who want to free themselves up to jump to the next level of time freedom and business growth. He is the founder of Lucemi Consulting, a coaching and consulting company. Visionary, creative, and generous, he is a hero to entrepreneurs seeking to work less, do more of what they love and multiply their revenue and profits. www.lucemiconsulting.co.uk
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