[Based on the popularity of this article, Kevin Kruse wrote the book, 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management: The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs. Click here to grab it on Amazon.]
I obsess over time. Time is our most valuable resource. Nothing else even comes close; money is easy. This fact explains the popularity of Getting Things Done (GTD) and 4-Hour Work Week. Everybody wants to expand time.
Reminding myself of these keys has been critical to maximizing my productivity.
1) 1440 = the number of minutes in a day. (I used to hang a “1440” sign on my office door as a reminder to myself and to others.)
2) Every “yes” is a “no” to something else. (click to tweet)
3) Beware of distant elephants. (Far away, even large things appear small.)
4) Touch things once.
5) Each appointment needs an end time, not just a start time. (My number one time mistake.)
6) A “stop doing” list is as important as a “to do” list.
7) Block time on your calendar for all of the “got a minute” meetings.
8) Block 30 minutes at the end of the day to return important calls and emails.
9) Make time to plan.
10) Slow down, stop, think.
11) Review your to do list and ask not “How can I get this done?” But rather, “How can this thing get done?”
12) Know the monetary value of each minute.
(And realize the value of those whose time you seek. To keep the math simple, let’s assume you are an executive who makes $180,000 per year and let’s assume an 1,800 hour work-year, which equates to $100 per hour. Which means when someone grabs you in the hallway for an unplanned 10-minute chat, it’s like they stopped you and took $17 out of your wallet. And you are spending $50 to sit in on a 30-minute meeting, not to mention $100 to watch a CSI repeat. Maybe these are sound investments, maybe not, but you won’t know unless you know what you earn per minute. If you make closer to $90,000 per year, then your time is worth 83 cents per minute. If you are an entrepreneur who creates $1,000,000 of additional net worth each year, your time is worth $9.26 per minute.)
13) Relaxation is a skill.
14) Sleep is a weapon.
Perhaps most important is to remember the advice of the wise old philosopher Ferris Bueller, who once said: “Life moves pretty fast, and if you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you might miss it.”
Use your life.