Tag Archive: time management system

Time is an elusive thing. It’s slippery and that’s one thing that makes it hard to get it all done. Hard to wrap your head around and you simply can’t lay your hands on it. It’s intangible. “Time management” can be a hard puzzle to piece together. Until you let go of how you see this thing we call time and take a personalized approach.

You are the reason you aren’t getting things done. Who you are has everything to do with why it’s not happening and it’s also what will help you discover how to knock things off your to do list with ease. You see, your Productivity Persona reveals how you relate to time and your strengths and weaknesses around it. When you look at who you are in that sense, what you’re good at and where you struggle start to make sense. Not being able to stay focused, over analyzing things to point of not taking action and lacking follow through are connected to personality traits.

If you’re like most people, no one ever told you anything about getting and staying organized or managing yourself around time. We are taught many things when we’re young but these two things are just not in the mix, so unless you have a natural disposition toward these things and have these abilities, you don’t have a clue and nine times out of ten, your latter school life and professional life suffer. Right now, if you still haven’t figured out how to deal with time, your business is probably suffering because you’re flying by the seat of your pants daily.

You learned how to tell time but didn’t learn about how to deal time, you just basically picked up your productivity abilities though osmosis. What you came to know was that time runs the show. You learned that by watching everybody else under its rule and you did the same thing. Time is running the show and you’ve given all of your power over to it. This is one reason why people struggle.

Another reason people struggle is that they don’t understand that they have a relationship with time and that it has to be considered. Getting things done means being able to reach for the things beyond ordered space and life, time for the things that matter most. Having that reach is empowered with the knowledge of who you are when it comes to time. Placing yourself at the core of it all is how your tools get chosen, processes get created and tasks get identified. Your Productivity Persona reveals your path to optimum productivity. It’s not about anything outside of you, but about putting who you are in the mix.

Optimum productivity doesn’t happen with that linear approach to time or the one size fits all boxed solutions or remedies. Your system should be built with you having explored who you are in depth. It starts with you. Productivity is personal. You can make it personal by starting with finding out who you are in your relationship with time. Take this quick quiz to learn your Productivity Persona.


WastingTime-ClocksWasteCan-SmallWe live in such an excessive society and people waste so much, even food. We also waste our time.  The difference is that time is something we don’t have in excess.  We each get the same amount of time each day and once it’s spent, it’s gone for good.

Do you honestly know where your time is going? How much of your time are you wasting?  On average, individuals spend any where from 1.5 to 2 hours of each work day searching for things-files, documents on their computers, contact information, and the list goes on.  Not to mention the other ways that time gets wasted.  Multiply that wasted time by 5 work days and that’s 7.5 to 10 hours every week when nothing is getting done.  With typically 20 work days in each month, that’s 150 to 200 hours of wasted time every month for the average individual, which means that there are a lot of “to-dos” that aren’t getting done because of some big-time time wasters.

So, how do you know you’re wasting significant time?  Begin by looking for indicators:

  • Messy desk, cluttered work space, things not filed
  • Not being able to find things
  • Missing, being late for or often rescheduling appointments
  • Arriving to meetings unprepared
  • Tired and/or unable to concentrate

Once you’ve identified the indicators, work on the solutions:

  • Organize your entire work space
  • Determine what fits your personality and establish a time management system that fits that personality
  • Plan your work and prioritize your list
  • Focus on important and not urgent things (this comes into play once you establish good habits)
  • Eliminate procrastination
  • Delegate the things that you can
  • Learn your personal energy cycles and use them
  • Control interruptions effectively

When you begin working on the solutions, know that although you may be implementing things immediately, it takes at least 21 days to develop a new habit.  Letting go of your big-time time wasters is a process, it can happen quickly, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Allow yourself the time and the room to do so, and when you revert to old habits, simply acknowledge what you’re doing and get back on track.  It’s also a good idea to enroll someone in what you’re doing and ask for support as part of your system for getting a handle on increasing your productivity. Remember, how you give your time to is what makes the difference and impacts your bottom line.


If you caught Part 1 of “Where does Your Time Go?” you got access to the daily time log.  If you downloaded and used it to see where your time was going over period of a week, you’ve got some data that you can use now.

Look at each day’s log and note what you see.  Where is your time really going; are you spending it on what’s important to you?  Are you giving time to the tasks that will help you accomplish your goals? If not, what’s in the way?  Are there any patterns that you notice with regard to the things you’re doing? What kind of interruptions are you faced with and how are you dealing with them?  Do you always stop to accommodate people when they come into your office and if so, look to see how much time you spent during the week that you logged just dealing with interruptions.  That time adds up very quickly.

What happens at particular times of the day?  If you’re not getting the important things done, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions:  What’s keeping you from getting things done and is procrastination at play? Are you making time to plan or is your focus on rushing and putting out fires because of a lack of planning?  What habits are supporting you and which ones are hindering your productivity?  Be completely honest about what you see in the big picture.

You can also create a time map to see how much time you’re spending in each area of your life.  Perhaps you want to see how much of your week is spent on work and how much time you’re actually spending on yourself.  We all know that for the majority of people who don’t really know where their time is going, not much is allotted for “me time”.  So sad, but true.  This might not look so pretty on paper, but it’s so important to know and well worth the time it takes to do it.

What things do you see in your way?  Procrastination, interruptions; maybe it’s a lack of planning.  These are indicators that some new habits should be created.  Look at what you’re procrastinating on and learn why you’re procrastinating; learn how to handle and minimize the interruptions and get into the habit of planning.

Looking at how you’re spending your time will give you a clue as to how you’re relating to time.  Once you know that, you can set the stage for improving that relationship.  If you’re not spending time on the important things, then shift gears and your focus so that your time is spent working on the important things, because after all, if you’re not working on the important things, what’s the point?

Making time to discover where your time is going is an important step toward effective time management and it’s just the beginning.  Remove the unimportant things from your to-do items.  Doing so won’t happen over night, but it is possible.  Next, discover your time management personality and choose a time management tool that fits your personality and use it in your regular planning along with other tools and habits to complete a solid time management system.


You have the first two keys from the last two posts and it’s time for the final key system.  This is a place where many find themselves challenged and sad to say, for some it just goes right out of the window.  Which isn’t good for business.

As a business owner, you have to manage yourself in a way that has you on top of everything and getting things done, so, yes, you need a system for that too.  If you don’t currently have a time management tool that is working well for you, it might be time to assess why it’s not working for you and determine what tool would be more appropriate for your time management personality.

Once you have the appropriate tool, set it up, learn how to use every feature it affords you and use it to its fullest capacity.  Additionally, set up other components as a part of your time management system.  For example, you want to incorporate the use of a master task list and a daily task list along with the good time management habits of planning and prioritizing to shore you up.  For more info on additional elements of a solid time management system, see my post on Your Time Management Tool Box.

When you put these things into place and use them regularly, you can be rid of the aforementioned scenarios and have control of every aspect of your business.  Even when you’re wearing multiple hats, with these things in place you will be large and in charge, calling all the shots; able to handle your business.

With the fast pace at which we all move and the multiple hats we all wear, it’s easy to have what seems like and endless number of things to do.  The demands on our time being what they are make it even more important to be organized and on top of your game.

Having a to-do list to help manage the many things on your agenda is a key factor in the game.  If you’re using one effectively on a regular basis, you’re someone who’s committed to productivity.  If you don’t have a to-do list, chances are that you are overwhelmed by the amount of things you have to do and may be forgetting important things.  If this is the case, consider what having and effectively using a to-do list will do for you:

  • All of your tasks are in one place and prioritized
  • You can clearly see what needs to be done
  • Prioritizing keeps you on track
  • You are organized, and more efficient
  • You’re not stressed by unimportant tasks
  • Your complete, prioritized to-do list drives your time management system

Without a solid to-do list you lack focus and you’re not as efficient or reliable to those around you.  If you have a to-do list, is it doing these things for you?  If not, chances are that it’ s not up to date, contains old, unfinished items and you don’t update it on a regular basis as part of a time management system.

If this is true and you’re ready to whip things into shape, start by getting the old items off of the list.  Apply one of the three D’s: get them done, delegate them or delete them altogether.  Add to your list all of the things that you have to do, then prioritize them.  I suggest that you also categorize them as well so that you can easily locate tasks and make updates to the list.  For example, some of the categories that I have are: personal, business development, products, health, etc.  Categorize your tasks in a way that works for you. If a task is going to take you longer than 15 minutes to do, create a block of time in your calendar.

Besides the key factors of containing all of your tasks and being prioritized, your to-do list has to be part of a time management system that contains a time management tool that fits your personality, an organized home or work space and established effective habits.  All the key elements of this system keep you from struggling and being busy with the unimportant, urgent things and take you to a place where you’re focused on what’s important and not urgent, which are the ideal tasks that you want to have on your list.  You’re organized, in control and on top of your game.

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