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What is the Secret to Mastering Time Management?

Time Management seems to be one of the most popular personal improvement topics there is. I see it less about managing your time but rather doing more in less time. Planning and goal setting are also critical areas of time management and the commitment to finish what you start, when you plan to, are keys to success.

According to Cameron Herold, author of Double Double, and former COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?,  his simple recommended outline to get impactful things done, are:

  • List activities that you have to do in the time frame for which are you planning
  • Prioritize the items on the list and divide them into A and B Once divided, rank each list by order of importance (not preference)
  • Take this list of activities and put them into your calendar, with a buffer in between
  • Review your progress daily, and weekly, to ensure A priorities are being completed
  • Analyze your own performance and decide how you can better manage your time the next day

This may seem like basic advice, so my challenge to you is to rank yourself on each of the five bullet points. You must make it a habit to list your activities within a reasonably planned timeframe to be able to create priority lists. If your calendar does not look FULL, you may not be listing all of your activities and that overlap creates potential for making progress. An honest self-analysis, and working with a mentor, can ensure you are being as detailed as needed.

One of the biggest reasons we don’t get as much done as we set out is we are easily distracted, especially if we deem a particular A priority difficult, or challenging. If it is a necessary and an ongoing priority, it would be important to get the training required to gain proficiency. If it is something that can be delegated, consider that instead. I have several business tasks that slow me down so I find it far more efficient to delegate those weekly or monthly. The time I save doing so allows me to pursue other priorities.

Visit this post next to read about keeping your team engaged as you reduce those distractions! 

Consider your 4 biggest time wasters; we all have them:

  1. Social media scrolling and while we all use social media for different purposes, addressing the social media for business is priority and the rest is for pleasure. The pleasure component can occur on the lunch break and be limited to 20 or 30 minutes per day.
  2. Spending too much time on email; plan the time blocks you will address email and have a “touch it once” policy so your inbox is relatively lean. Turn off notifications that may cause you to check your email with each message; that is a big-time waster and distraction.
  3. Not pre-planning areas such as meals (prepare multiple dinners at one time and always pre-plan breakfast and lunch), lack of grocery shopping routine (including a list), last minute errands (did your partner’s birthday date change this year?), etc.
  4. Doing it all yourself, but what can be delegated? If you complain about being too busy, what can you give away? Make the list!

Being so busy that you always run late labels you as unreliable. You are likely not, but the fact that you arrive late for everything, whether business, family or social events means you do not have a reliability reputation. Sometimes one blames this on culture; me being of German origin am expected to be on time (and I typically am), someone of Japanese origin is spot on time (I am told), and there are other cultures that are expected to be late. That is simply an excuse. Do not let culture, or pigeonholing, create that excuse that lateness becomes a habit. Break it!


Believe it or not, a messy environment can create the disarray and disorganization that contributes to getting less done. One can’t find something, one can’t stay focused, or one tries to work on multiple projects at once. From a logistical perspective, one can lose time every time one searches for a lost paper or file on a cluttered desk. On the opposite spectrum, the same holds true for one who has gone paperless. A study showed that one can lose up to two hours a week fruitlessly looking for lost digital documents. A study has also shown that individuals that feel overwhelmed with the amount of “stuff” on their desks are more likely to procrastinate. That presents yet another time waster. Organize a “spring cleaning” event every month, or more, if you constantly find your desk in a mess.

“Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor – it’s anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living.” – Peter Walsh

Micro-managing can also challenge one’s time management. Micro-managers spend unnecessary time following up with subordinates, double and triple checking others work project details, and doing more themselves than they should. All that takes time. Besides wanting to control every detail, anyone prone to micro-managing should consider working with a coach to learn to let more go and give others the autonomy they deserve. The benefits are many, including improved employee morale, confidence and for the micro-manager leader, more time and peace of mind (a coach can help).


Some people are self-proclaimed workaholics but working many hours does not mean one manages one’s time well. A workaholic is one who works compulsively, often missing important family occasions and not sleeping enough. This is not someone who has a strategically planned day or week, with a start and an end time. This is a good example of someone who does not plan or delegate well, and eventually being compelled to work all the time becomes a bad habit. A workaholic could also be a micromanager, or one who lacks confidence in others and wants to do everything themselves.

Visit this post next to read about Executive Coaching and how it can be effective to move you forward! 

“If You Fail to Plan, You Are Planning to Fail.”. – Benjamin Franklin

According to Harvard Business School, four out of five adults report feeling they have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Time-poor people experience less joy, less family time and can become easily overwhelmed. Begin to think of your time as an activity, and not just “being busy”. Time is an asset and if used wisely, there should usually be enough. One technique I use is to avoid saying, out loud, “I am too busy”. Once that is said, it opens a can of worms in a conversation.

It is no secret why the adage “If you want something done, ask a busy person” exists. A busy person has mastered their calendar, organized their priorities and knows how to juggle interruptions and unplanned distractions. As Gloria Vanderkam, author of I Know How She Does It, says, “A good juggler can juggle more”.

Kris is a past vice-president in the private sector and past president in the non-profit sector. Her experience involves business, coaching, public speaking and the love of anything equestrian. Kris holds an MBA from Athabasca University and is a Distinguished Toastmaster.

She currently works with X5 Management as an Executive and Leadership Coach, as well as Trainer and Facilitator.

She is a Certified Everything DiSC® Workplace Facilitator and an Accredited Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ Facilitator working with X5 Management, an Authorized and Award-winning Partner of Everything DiSC®

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