6 Time Management Hacks

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I’m reading a fantastic book by Chet Holmes, The Ultimate Sales Machine

Are you struggling to find enough time to do what you want? Are you not as productive as you want to be?

Most people spend their day being reactive, not proactive. They are reacting to their businesses, to constant distractions. Instead of focusing efforts on the 20% that bring 80% of the results, they are ‘busy’ on the other 80% which brings only 20% of the outcome as they can pop-up more frequently.

Here are 6 Tips to Help You work Smarter, not harder.

1. One Touch

When you deal with something, take action now. Set aside specific times during the day for email and action them immediately. Archive, delete, reply. They don’t need to be dealt with as they come in. That’s a huge source of distraction. Especially if you work in an office and you hear the notification all of the time.

When you are focused on any specific task, that concentration builds by not being distracted. If you have to go back to a specific email multiple times and re-read the email, you are wasting time. If you set aside specific times during the day (e.g. 8 am and 3 pm) and a specific amount of time to deal with email (e.g. 20 minutes), you will stop procrastinating and be more productive. You will realise that the world is not going to fall apart.

Emails have become a To Do List. Unfortunately, we do not have the habit of keeping the subject lines relevant. An email conversation can contains 3 or 4 topics all under the same subject. When you want to go back and refer to it, you must read over every single email to find what you’re looking for rather than skim the subject lines. That’s a waste. If you have staff, make them keep the subject lines relevant. If someone is emailing you about coffee tomorrow morning, leave the subject as “coffee tomorrow”. But if they say, “By the way, I need to request for budget approval on XYZ because of something” — change the subject line.

If you’re a solo entrepreneur, then it’s better to keep a separate to do list either using a text document, a written pad, a task management app — whatever suits you as long as it’s not your inbox!

The same goes for IMs including Google Chat & Skype as well as Twitter & FB. Being on call this way is a great way to be unproductive.

Watch the creator of the extremely popoular game Minecraft, Notch, program:


2. Make Lists of To Dos

Do you have a list of what needs to be done? If not, you’re just reacting.

Create a list of the most critical things that need to be done. Don’t make the list 25 items long. You will not finish everything and the list will leave you feeling unhappy.

Make the list 6 items long.

I use a legal pad with a list of everything that needs to be done on one column and then choose the most important tasks on the other.

You should do this now.

3. Allocate Amount of Time to Each Tasks

Think about how long each of those tasks will realistically take.

For me, I may have the following:

  • Email Marketing Work — 1 hour
  • Write Blog Post — 1 hour
  • Read the FT — 0.5 hour
  • Consultation Call — 1 hour
  • Work on Book — 0.5 hour
  • Adwords — 0.5 hour
  • Emails — 1.5 hours

That’s a total of 6 hours. It gives some margin when something comes up as they always do. They key is to get straight back into it.

After you allocate time to your tasks and come up with a number greater than 6, start trimming.

Some tasks — e.g. writing a book — can take a long time. The best way to tackle a large project is to break it down into small pieces and work on it one step at a time. People overestimate what they can achieve in one day, underestimate what they can achieve in one year. Increments compound.

4. Assign a Specific Time to Each Task

Now comes the part where you assign a time for each task.

Look at Benjamin Franklin’s:

Benjamin Franklin's To Do

Benjamin Franklin’s To Do

5. Prioritize

People tend to save the hardest thing for last. It’s a human tendency. That’s why it’s good to keep the daily to do list down to 6 items. But even so, some will still try to do the toughest thing at the end of a long day. Bad Idea.

Do the toughest thing at the start.

This is what being PROactive is all about.

This will give you an immense feeling of accomplishment and put you in a positive mood for the rest of the day. It will make you more productive.

Jamie Dimon, who manages JPMorgan — a $200 bn company — takes this further and keeps a list of only the most difficult things that need to be done so he doesn’t procrastinate. CEOs don’t have more time in their working timetable. Effective CEOs focus on the things that count. The 20% which produces 80% of the result.

6. Remove Clutter

Ask yourself consistently, “Will it hurt me to throw this away?”

Could you get it again if you need it? In most cases, the answer will be yes.

Get rid of the things you don’t need. Simplify.


Follow these 6 steps religiously and you will make at least 1,000 times the time it took you to read this article.

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