Key Takeaways on Time Management Principles

Wed Jan 16

Recently read quite a lot on time management and below are the takeaways that I do not want myself to forget.

You can’t produce more time, but you can get more out of your time

  • Everyone has the same amount of time, so you can’t really manage time. Instead, you manage energy. If you have more energy for a day, you can accomplish for and thus get more out of a day. So the mindset of keeping the energy and not to get tired so quickly is important. Proper ways to maintain energy level – exercise regularly, take a short break from time to time, etc. Things like coffee are tactics only that try to override the natural body rhythm. So focus on the fundamentals.

Move away from a checklist, go with Calendar

  • Stay away from a to-do-List, and go with calendar. While to-do-list keeps a clear view what needs to be done, it doesn’t say when it needs to be done especially when so many other things are happening everyday. As a result, you’d often have a long list of things that’s seating their forever and never get done. That makes people feel stressed as they still have so many things pending. Instead, using calendar set aside the needed time for the tasks, when it comes, you focus on that thing over that period and everything else is secondary. Even if you have a lot of things to be accomplished, you won’t feel as worried because you know you have put aside time for it down the road to get it going. Calendar gives you a much more holistic view in your days and life. Always arrange tasks with a calendar view.

Focus on your MIT – One Most Important thing

  • Focus on the MIT. What is your Most Important Thing at the moment? It’s one thing. The most important thing. And once it’s the MIT, block your calendar and set time for it. If it’s tough and hard, take a beer with you too.

Establish your Morning Routine

  • Stick with a morning routine. Successful people come with discipline and self control. Having a great morning where you refresh and get yourself ready for the day will give you the energy and a clear mind for the toughness of the rest of the day. Having a morning routine is easier said than done as it requires you to wake up early in the morning. It’s also about changing your habits of years that you’d only wake up when you really have to (to go to work). This one thing can separate the winners and the losers. Again, successful people are disciplined. Waking up early in the morning can be one life changing habit you want to force yourself to establish. What do you in the early morning? Drink some water, have proper breakfast and coffee, do some reading, some exercise, or even just meditate or think. And arriving office consistently earlier than the others for at least 30min. Overtime with this, you’d be way ahead of others.

Focus on the top 20%, and outsource the rest

  • 80/20 and outsourcing. The more you focus on the 20, the more value you can get out of your time. Staying focused is the key to keep addressing the 20, as usually the 80 would be a lot more interesting and fun. Outsourcing is a great skills to master that you can borrow other people’s time to accomplish things that need to be done yet falling into the 80. Do not be guilty about this, as your 80 can be someone else’s 20. They need you to outsource it so they can create their value. Win-win.

Prioritise proactively

  • Moving from reactive style to proactive prioritisation. Do not let other people decide what you should be doing. Else you’d be spending time on their priorities, not yours. Reduce frequency of checking emails, mobile phone etc. And start the day by thinking about what should be priority of the day. Block time for them until you finish. Then spare time for other requests.

Watch your time as the way you watch for your money

  • While so many people have high security for their money, they do not implement same level of guard for their time. Many people let others steal their time freely. Remember, time is limited, and money is not. You should be more careful with your time than money. Carefully analyse before giving away your time, like how you do for money.

Every Yes is a No to something else

  • Every Yes is a No to something else. If happens a lot when someone is asking for your time in the future, which you might think it has more space and time. But the fact is, the future will equally busy as now. Things will come up along the way. So next time, before blocking a future time slot, make sure you are willing to give up other things that can pop up. Every Yes is a No to something else. Opportunity cost always applies in time.