How Simple, Effective Time Management Techniques Can Streamline Your Work & Save 3 Hours (Or More) Every Day
Your time management worksheet can be a powerful tool in planning your day and focusing your attention, if you learn to use it correctly. One of the most effective time management techniques is to pick your 6 top tasks for the day and get them done without distractions or delays. A worksheet can help you achieve this goal consistently and without stress.
As Napoleon Hill famously said, “If you don’t control your thoughts and mind, someone else will.” It applies to time also. Either you decide how to spend your time, or others will do it for you. And one of the best ways you can take control of your work day is to have a time management worksheet that you fill up and follow regularly.
When your focus is intense and laser-like, you get more things done. That isn’t the difficult part. It’s identifying the core areas in which you must focus for the greatest impact over the long term. Sure, something might sound urgent and important at the moment. But when you think about it later, after you’ve wasted fruitless hours putting out the fire, you’ll realize it hasn’t taken you closer to your goal!
That’s where a time management worksheet comes in handy. By forcing you to consciously allot time to the most relevant and important areas in your life, it ensures that you will be working on areas that matter – and ignore the rest. To enhance and refine your focus, you may tune out distractions like the phone and email. But without a proper guide to nudge you along the right path, the time you saved on one activity will only be wasted on another.
Make Your List of 6 Things
Making a list of your important tasks and assigning them a priority based on how they compare against others on the list is a core essential of the Time Management Tao approach. It keeps you stress-free and oriented as you navigate the busy waters of your typical day.
The key component to making this work is limiting the items on your ‘must do’ list to no more than 6 things. In your time management worksheet, assign specific periods for competing these 6 activities alone, and you’ll be well along the path to greater efficiency and less stress.
How to do this?
Look at your daily to-do list, which has already been organized by priority. Take the 6 most important items on this list and draw up an estimate of how long it will take to get them done. Your top 6 tasks shouldn’t take up more than 6 hours, if you are to have a fair shot at getting them done. That’s because there will inevitably be some unexpected emergencies or time wasters that crop up in the course of your day. You’ll have to make allowance for them, and still have six hours to focus on your top tasks.
Draw Up Your Time Management Worksheet
Once you’ve drawn up this estimate, insert them into your time management worksheet which will allot specific time slots for each item. For more complex tasks or projects, you may assign multiple slots at different times of the day.
For example, if you need to get feedback or further information from someone before you can proceed on a task, then slot in the first action of asking for those details in the morning, and then block out a chunk of time later in the day for completing the work once you have what you need.
Here’s a very basic sample time management worksheet:
08:00 – 09:00 – Phone calls to prospective buyers
09:00 – 11:00 – Work on XYZ Corp project proposal
11:00 – 11:30 – Email client AR asking for specifications
11:30 – 12:00 – Lunch break
12:00 – 12:30 – Replying to email and phone calls
12:30 – 13:30 – Review marketing plan for BM campaign
13:30 – 14:00 – Link building for client RB
14:00 – 16:00 – Work on client AR’s project
16:00 – 16:30 – Replying to email
16:30 – 17:00 – Wind up, plan tomorrow schedule
Make It a Habit
While even occasional use of a time management worksheet can create remarkable results, the real power of managing your time using this tool comes when you make it a part of your system that you follow regularly. It takes time and discipline to make it a habit, but the results are well worth the effort.
When you plan your following day every evening at the end of your work day, fill up your time management worksheet with relevant notes – but keep it flexible enough to adapt to the evolving needs of your day. If some pressing task crops up that requires your attention, keep enough time available to handle it without compromising on your most important activities.
Combined with intelligent delegation and decisive action in turning down responsibilities that are not taking you closer to your goals, you will transform your effectiveness and discover extra hours in your crowded schedule… and do this without getting over-stressed or frustrated. That’s the true benefit of a Time Management Tao approach that is based upon learning how to:
- Find your center – know WHAT to do
- Understand your order – know HOW to do it
- Pick your timing – know WHO to use & WHEN
We dive deeper into these issues in the Ming Vase Time Management series of guides, and you can also receive tips about saving time and boosting your efficiency by subscribing to our free email newsletter – the “Time Taozine” – just fill in the simple registration form below.