Let me start this post by dispelling some time management myths:

  • Planning my time just takes more time (wrong!)
  • The busier I am the better I’m using my time (wrong!)
  • I can manage time (wrong!)

Changing time management habits does take time and effort but it’s much easier when you have a simple system of practical rules and hints that are easy to keep in mind. Here are some “tried and true” time management tips:

Know what you want from your time: The proven way to do it is to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding, and Timely) goals. An example of a SMART goal for salespeople would be for them to dedicate one-hour per day to make outbound prospecting calls in order to increase the number of qualified prospects in their pipeline by 20% within the next 90-days. That goal is specific, measurable, attainable, rewarding, and time-bound.

Learn to see the difference between urgent and important: The important tasks are those that lead you to your goals and give you most of the long term progress and reward. Those tasks are very often not urgent but many urgent tasks are not really important!

Know and respect your priorities: Aim to do the important things first. Remember the 80-20 rule: 80 percent of reward comes from 20 percent of effort. One of the aims of time management tips is to help you refocus your mind to give more attention and time to those most important 20 percent.

Plan your actions to achieve your goals: Planning will help you to identify potential conflicts and crises, minimizing the number of urgent tasks. Planning can also significantly lower the time spent on routine maintenance tasks, leaving you more time on what you like to do or for what you think is important for your long term success.

Also remember that planning and related time management tips work best when you review those plans on a regular basis and make the necessary corrections along the way.

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