Effective Time Management Strategies


Randy Brazzel MA, LPC, LMFT

  1. Recognize the importance of managing time.
    • Time is the one commodity that cannot be replaced. Be aware of how you spend it.
    • Be purposeful in how you spend your time.
    • Effective time management in many ways is simply effective choice management.
  2. Learn to Distinguish Urgent vs. Important Tasks.
    • Many times we get caught up in activities that don’t support our goals in life. Focus on those activities that are important to you, rather than letting the distractions of life dictate your actions.
  3. Schedule your priorities and then follow the schedule.
    • It is not enough to simply prioritize your schedule. You also need to schedule time to focus on those tasks and activities that are most important to you.
    • The less time you feel you have to spare the more important it is to plan how you use your time.
  4. Focus on being effective rather than efficient.
    • Why do a task well if it is a task you shouldn’t be doing at all.
    • Focus on putting your time into activities that make a difference and that line up with your goals in life.
  5. Use the 80/20 rule.
    • In many situations we find that about 80% of the benefit comes from about 20% of our efforts. If we can identify which activities generate the greatest benefit, then we can focus our efforts there. This tends to increase productivity and decrease time spent generating marginal benefits.
  6. Ask the following questions on an ongoing basis.
    • What is the best use of my time right now?
    • Am I wasting my time?
    • Is there a way of simplifying this task?
    • Does this activity line up with my goals?
    • What things can I not do?
  7. Focus on difficult tasks during peak energy times.
    • Schedule tasks that are difficult during your peak energy times and do those tasks that are enjoyable and easy during your low energy times.
  8. Don’t put off tasks that you dread, do them first.
    • The amount of energy we spend dreading a task will expand to fill the amount of time we allow for it. By putting the task off, we simply expend more emotional energy which leaves less energy for those things that are meaningful to us.
  9. Only touch a piece of paper once.
    • Don’t just move mail or memos around on your desk or computer. Make a decision about them so that you can move on.
  10. Organize your activities around your goals.
  11. Learn to say “no”.
    • One way to maintain balance in life is to learn to say no to those activities that do not line up with our goals.
  12. Cut don’t squeeze.
    • Many times we try to squeeze one more activity in a day that is already full. Instead of getting more done, we tend to rush throughout the day and feel overwhelmed because we are “behind.” Take back control by cutting out those activities that do not line up with your goals in life.
    • It also helps to cut out the clutter in your life rather than squeezing one more item into the house. The less clutter you have to manage the less time it takes to clean, organize, etc.
  13. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
    • Don’t turn a small decision into a huge energy consuming process. If you won’t even remember the decision a month from now, it isn’t that important. Flip a coin and move on.