If there is one thing we all wish we had more of, it’s time. How often do we find ourselves wondering where did the time go? Days seem to whizz by and our work remains undone. However, what we fail to see are the little things that steal our time. Email notifications, text messages and even the colleague who pops by to catch up – all take time away from our tasks and break our focus.
So, what exactly can be done to take back our time and ensure that we remain focused on our tasks? 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time management is filled with real-life examples of what people successful people do to manage their time effectively. This book summary will look at some of the highlights.
In this book summary readers will discover:
- The importance of 1440 minutes
- Overcoming procrastination
- How to boost your productivity
- Things to do in the morning
Key lesson one: The importance of 1440 minutes
The first secret of time management is knowing the importance of your time! Time is our most valuable asset and what we do with it is incredibly important. By breaking down the time you have every day, you ensure that you are keeping track of it and making the most of every minute. This is why the number 1440 is so important because that is exactly how many minutes you have in a day. There is a lot you can get done in a minute if you think about it. You could do a set of jumping jacks, scan through your emails or even water your pot plants. The fact remains that a minute can be productive if you know what to do with it.
Once you realize this valuable fact, you can move on to the second secret. This is determining and prioritizing your most important task or MIT. This is the task that will have the most impact on your day. By determining this task and making it a priority, you will be able to retain your focus and be much happier once you complete it. This brings us to the third secret – get rid of your to-do list. As much as you think it helps you by reminding you what you have to do, about 41 per cent of it never gets done. You will keep pushing tasks aside if you think you don’t have enough time to do them or if something more important comes up. This means that your to-do list will keep getting longer will all the tasks that you still have to do and that will just add to your stress levels.
It is thus important that you learn to use your calendar instead. By utilizing a method called time blocking or time boxing, you can maintain a detailed calendar that will help you keep track of your tasks for the day. When you are unable to accomplish your task, you will have to reschedule it. For example, if you cannot exercise in the morning because you have to travel, move your workout to the evening. In this way, you still accomplish everything you need to for the day.
Key lesson two: Overcoming procrastination
Procrastination is an old, close friend to every one of us. We all know that feeling when there is so much work to do and you sit at your desk and then decide to check your phone before you start. Or maybe you should call your friend now instead of later in the middle of the task. You think you are doing it for the right reasons, but it is nothing more than procrastination.
The fourth secret states that you can overcome procrastination by imagining your future self. It is based on the simple fact that you are not lazy, you’re just not motivated to work. By imagining what it would feel like to complete your work should get you motivated enough to start working. You could also try imagining what you would feel like if you did not get it done. For example, if you want to go to the gym every day but just can’t get going, imagine what you would look like if you did or you can imagine how unfit you would be if you did not.
You should also aim to be honest about your actions. You know yourself and what you will be able to do to achieve your goals. Do not attempt to do too much. This is the basis of the fifth secret. There will always be more to do and you can’t do everything. It is not a bad thing, it is simply the truth. Properly prioritizing and scheduling is much more important than striking things off a list. This is something that you should always remember.
Key lesson three: How to boost your productivity
We all strive to be productive. This is the main reason why we cannot afford to waste time. The sixth secret is therefore to always have a notebook handy. This ensures that if you have a great idea at any time of the day, you can quickly write it down and come back to it when you need to. In this manner, you can easily recall the idea and not lose focus on what you are doing. Writing stuff down as opposed to typing has also been proven to improve your memory.
The seventh secret to mastering time management is to not check your email too often. You may think that checking your email is a good use of your time but it isn’t. It just takes up your time and interrupts your focus. There are methods you can implement to help you stay away from excessively checking your email. The most effective is to limit how many times you check it by employing a 321-Zero system. This system says that you only check your emails 3 times a day and aim to get your inbox to zero in 21 minutes. You can also try turning off your email notifications so you won’t be tempted by those little pop-ups.
Next up on the list of time waster is meetings. The eighth secret is that meetings should only be scheduled as a last resort. Meetings have proven to be inefficient time and time again. Research has shown that meetings are found to be a waste of time for two reasons. The first is that participants often waste precious time on issues that are not related to the meeting and secondly, extroverts dominate the conversation leaving others to remain quiet. This ultimately means that valuable information does not get across either because you run out of time or because you don’t get a chance to speak. If you have no choice but to schedule a meeting, ensure that they have a time limit. Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, schedules meetings that are either five or ten minutes long. In this way, she can have up to 70 meetings a week. People are aware that they have to get to the point in these meetings and won’t waste time on unimportant matters.
The ninth secret is one that we need to do more of – say no. If you keep saying yes to everything you are asked, you are essentially saying no to something else. Thus, if you want to achieve your goals faster, stop saying yes to things that take away your time. Every minute of your time should be dedicated to things that you want to get done. The tenth secret offers the Pareto Principle that helps you get this done. The Pareto Principle is based on the 80/20 rule. You put your focus on the 20 per cent that produces 80 per cent of your results. For example, you can identify the 20 per cent of your tasks that make the greatest impact or the 20 per cent of your employees that produce the most results.
Secret number eleven urges you to delegate your work if you know you do not have the skills to accomplish it. You will be surprised how many of your tasks can be completed by someone else. This will free up your time for the important tasks that you need time for. In fact, if you do this you can free up to eight hours a week! So slow down and ask yourself which tasks can be delegated. The twelfth secret is one that can help you focus at the office. It deals with grouping your work every week into recurring themes. For example, the co-founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, focuses on management on Monday, marketing on Wednesdays and uses Sunday for reflection and strategies for the week ahead. Entrepreneurial coach, Dan Sullivan, has three types of days. These are focus days, buffer days and free days.
The thirteenth secret can boost your efficiency quickly because it states that you should complete all tasks that take less than five minutes immediately. This ensures that you get everything done and you don’t return to the same task again.
Key lesson four: Things to do in the morning
A great start in the morning will undoubtedly set the tone for a good day. The fourteenth secret about time management is that the first hour of your day should be dedicated to your health. This means that every morning you should ensure that your mind, body and soul is taken care of. During this time, you should avoid looking at your phone or checking the news. It is all about setting the tone for the day. Most people choose to work out, meditate or even read. It is a great way to get your creative juices flowing and ideas brewing. Don’t forget about a healthy breakfast and hydrating your body with lots of water.
The fifteenth and last secret is that productivity isn’t actually about how much time you have but rather about maintaining your focus and energy. A great way to do this is by using the Pomodoro technique. This technique was developed to reduce distractions and boost productivity by giving your full attention to your work for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break before the next 25 minutes of work. This technique has proved to be quite effective amongst professionals and is said to keep energy levels up throughout the day.
That rounds up the 15 secrets about time management. It is possible to find the time, we just have to be conscious of how we use it. When you realise just how much time gets taken away and what breaks your focus, you can find ways to eliminate these distractions.
The key takeaway from 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management is:
Successful people know that time is an important asset. If you allow yourself to be distracted, you are not only interrupting your focus but allowing precious time to be wasted. By being more conscious of your time, you can find ways to easily boost your productivity. Sure, you can easily find more time in your day if eliminate distractions but you can also be more productive if you use the time you have available more effectively.
How can I implement the lessons learned in 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management:
Ensure that you start your morning off with a routine that gets you ready for the day ahead. It must be a routine that gets you in a mindset that is prepared to be focused, creative and motivated to get through your tasks. After your morning routine, make sure that you take care of the easy tasks for the day so that you don’t have to worry about them later on. By eliminating those small tasks, the rest of your day can be dedicated to the other larger tasks that need to be completed. If you keep up this momentum, nothing will be able to get in the way of your success!