7 Steps to Time Management Success

Are you struggling to juggle all the demands at work? Has email become a part time job? Are ya beggin’ for some time management tips?

time management tips

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t felt this way one time or another. I certainly have. But I’m no time management guru, so I went in search of answers.

And I discovered I had it all backwards! I kept trying to find ways to “work smarter, not harder” thinking there must be tricks to help me get more done. In every job I’ve ever held, tasks increased but hours in the day did not.

What I learned was this: I had to get more disciplined and focus on the essential.

If you write, you learn to cut, cut, cut for stronger impact. Less is more. Tweet in 140 characters. Keep your LinkedIn bio within the word limit. Evacuate with only what you can fit in the car. A forced choice makes us eliminate and place value on what we keep.

If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter. —Blaise Pascal in 1657

Thankfully, we have an expert to help us. Greg McKeown wrote Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. (Watch him on this video.) It is one of the best books I’ve read in the past few years. (I get no compensation to say that.) Here are a few of his tips (with my comments) on how to focus on the essential:


  1. Get over the fear of waste: avoid sunk cost bias
  2. Admit failure to begin success: admit we’ve made a mistake to avoid “circling the drain”
  3. Stop trying to force a fit: trying too hard to be something we’re not
  4. Be aware of the status quo bias: doing something because we’ve always done it
  5. Get over the fear of missing out: we don’t have to participate in everything
  6. Apply zero-based budgeting: start from zero and allocate resources based on needs vs history
  7. Stop making casual commitments: ask yourself, “Is this really essential?”

Here are a few additional tips I can offer:

Don’t let the tail wag the dog. Question everything you do, the bottom line reason for doing it and how you could reduce, eliminate or delegate.

Quantify and define benefits and drawbacks of your actions. Sometimes, seeing the numbers will reinforce what we know we must do to make a change.

Consider this: if we continue down the path we’re on, we cheat ourselves out of the opportunity to make greater contributions.

And lastly, you are the best person to change these circumstances. It may not be easy. You may want to throw your hands up in frustration. Hunker down. Take hold of this situation and bend it to your will! You’ve done it before with other parts of your life. Care enough about your well-being to create the future you wish to live.


  1. Great tips. Another, which I remind myself of continually is “Remember your mission”. In other words, don’t lose focus.