“Time is unique because it’s the one true equalizer. Some people are born rich, others born poor. Some have Ivy League degrees, while others are high school dropouts. Some are genetically gifted athletes, others physically challenged. But we all have the same minutes in a day. Time is the lowest common denominator.”― Kevin Kruse, 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management
It’s safe to say that the modern world is filled with time stealers. Whether it be your buzzing smartphone, your overflowing email inbox, social media feeds, online video streaming platforms, or a coworker unnecessarily interrupting you in the middle of an important task, you are constantly being robbed of your precious time every single day. Whether you like it or not, you must remind yourself that the sands of time are slipping away from your hands, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, and once they’re gone, they are never coming back again.
Highly successful people consider time to be their most valuable asset. You have to make sure day in and day out that you remain focused and not let the time stealers get the better of you. Here are 15 time-management maxims followed by billionaires, Olympic athletes, Straight-A students, and top entrepreneurs that can help you become your most productive self:
- Time is a non-renewable resource — you can never make up for lost time. A useful approach to monitor this asset is to break it down. For instance, there are a total of 1,440 minutes in a day, each of which should be invested wisely.
- Identify your MIT (most important task) and do it first. Your MIT deserves your full focus before you proceed to another task.
- Work from your calendar, not a to-do list. To-do lists are basically wish lists that never come true.
- Overcome procrastination by getting started however you can — even if it means pretending that you’re the productive professional you desire to be.
- There will always be more to accomplish. Focus on your most important tasks today and leave the rest until tomorrow.
- Always carry a notebook. You never know when or where you might encounter your next great idea.
- Take charge of your inbox. Simplifying your email can be a monumental step in managing your time.
- Always schedule meetings as a last resort. A meeting is necessary only when all other communication strategies have failed.
- Say no to every activity that doesn’t support your immediate goals. All your focus should be on your MITs — anything else robs you of your valuable time and energy you need for achieving big goals.
- Follow the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. Choose to focus exclusively on the tasks that get you the maximum results.
- Focus on tasks that align with your unique strengths and passions, and delegate everything else.
- Batch your work with recurring themes. Choosing a theme can enhance your focus for the respective day/week.
- If there’s a task that you can do in less than five minutes, do it immediately. Successful people get things done and out of the way as soon as they can.
- Design a morning routine. Top performers use early mornings to strengthen their mind, body, and spirit. Focusing on your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health is key in helping you focus on your MITs at work.
- Productivity is primarily about energy and focus, not time. So, pay close attention to your energy levels throughout the day and schedule enough downtime for rest and rejuvenation.
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