Brutal Basics of Time Management

Effective time management is apparently elusive. Witness the massive industry dedicated to helping us navigate the clock more successfully. We have software programs, day planners, apps, calendars, training programs – you name it.

I find that most of these resources are only modestly useful. My theory is that the thinkers behind these products have over-thought the problem. They have made their solutions overly complex. If a given time management system takes hours to learn is it really saving you time?

time management clock

I’d like to offer you something far more focused, simple, and intuitive. Did I mention it is free? You’re welcome.

I will offer you three simple rules that will immediately make obsolete the entire time management industry. Follow these three rules and you will significantly increase your daily productivity. A day planner and your computer calendar might help, but not if you don’t understand these three rules.

Related Article: 3 Easy Steps to Manage Time Effectively

Three Steps to Effective Time Management

Rule 1:  Apply the 80/20 test

Versions of this rule have been applied in many decision contexts. At its core, it is simply a reminder that some things are more important than others. Specifically, the “20” are the tasks, projects, and relationships that are of the highest value. Tending to these issues effectively will significantly advance you, your team, and your organization. They are of the highest strategic importance and are your top priority.

The other tasks, projects, and relationships (the “80”) are not unimportant, but they are less important. People spend far too much time everyday on the “80” instead of the “20”. The items in the “80” category are great targets for delegating, automating, or outsourcing. Your goal is to never spend more than 50% of your time on the “80” items.

Related Article: 10 Ways to Be More Efficient at the Office

Rule 2:  Identify your Einstein Window

While your IQ is fixed, your problem-solving ability is not. Problem solving is often a function of preparedness. One key aspect of preparedness is knowing when to work on what. Many times people will use “80” items as a means of procrastination instead of working on the more challenging “20” items.

You are smarter than that. Think about the time of day when your mental ability peaks. I call it the Einstein Window. For most people it

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