6 Golden Rules for Better Time Management

by Lorena Prime

iaap-time-management

You cannot manage time, but you can manage yourself! Time management is about habit changes—tiny behavior modifications that help you be more productive. The goal of greater productivity isn’t to complete more tasks, but rather to complete the right tasks that lead to significant results. By focusing on the right things, you’ll feel more satisfied, get promoted faster, earn higher wages, and maybe leave work earlier.

Think you don’t have time for time management? Everyone can make habit tweaks that will produce better results. Implement the ideas below and see how far you can go!

1) Be open

If you’re not ready for change, you won’t be able to modify your habits in order to try something new.

2) Value time not money

We’re cautious with money, but not as much with time, which is more valuable. You can earn extra money somehow, but you cannot earn more hours. There are 1,440 minutes each day; spend it on professional and personal activities that really matter.

3) Use “vacation” prioritizing

We prioritize well when we’re leaving town; we ruthlessly trim our lengthy task list as the day gets closer. If we were this ruthless daily, we would complete more substantial items and waste less time on unimportant work.

4) Recognize consequences

What would happen if you didn’t do that task? Sometimes we quickly say, “Yes!” only to realize later we don’t have the capacity. Spare yourself and others disappointment by understanding your workload and saying “No” politely when needed. You’ll gain respect and others will see you as more reliable when you do say, “Yes.”

5) Deal with it

Take care of nagging tasks or you’ll never be able to concentrate. We lose energy, time, and motivation when we let things go day after day. Whether completing taxes, fixing the washing machine, or creating a complex report, finish these tasks and get them out of your head, so you can focus on other things.

6) Use T.A.R. 

Every email and piece of paper falls into one of three categories – Trash, Action, or Reference (T.A.R.). For each item ask, “Can I throw it away?” If so, then delete immediately! If you cannot toss, ask “Is action required?” If not, then the item is reference and should be filed. If action is required, ask “What’s the next step?” and write that step on your to-do list. Separate email and papers into categories and you won’t be constantly sifting through trash and filing to see the action. Plus, you’ll see there isn’t as much action as you thought!

These Golden Rules help you do more of the right things every day. Life is about values and goals, not about filling every second of your day with tasks. By making small changes in thought and action, you’ll feel better and accomplish more!


IAAP works with the best trainers in the industry to ensure you have relevant, engaging, practical content at your fingertips. This blog is written by a speaker with a program in the IAAP Approved Programs database. Search by name or keyword to find their contact information and book them for your Branch or Region event.


Lorena Prime owns Clearly Organized and speaks at organizations on Time Management, Productivity, and using Outlook effectively. For more information, visit www.ClearlyOrganizedLife.com.

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