THERE are a million and one books designed to help us be more successful, be fitter and be smarter. It can be a little daunting just trying to figure out what is most important.

Is it better to exercise in the morning or the evening?

Should I do weight training or cardio?

Should I learn a new technical skill, get better at writing or work on my presentation skills?

Do I network within my industry or with people from other industries?

As you progress through your career, you will be faced with a multitude of choices and you will need to work through your options to determine what the right answer is for you.

The best choice I made fairly early in my career was to be organised — to really work at my time management.

This is because if you can be efficient with your time, then you have the ability to introduce change into your routine, and accommodate all of those other commitments that will help you on the road to success.

If you can manage your calendar efficiently, then you will know what is possible and what will work best for you.

Incidentally, I work out in the mornings because family commitments tend to be in the evenings, and I can adjust my sleep schedule to accommodate my workout routine in the morning.

If I try to fit it in last thing at night, I am far less likely to do it!

If you can figure out priorities, then you can focus on what is important.

By giving some of my personal family commitments a very high priority, I was able to fit in those parent-teacher interviews and sports events while still giving sufficient priority to fulfil my work commitments.

It is not easy, but good time management and priority management achieves the best results.

If you can be disciplined enough to keep a current “to-do” list, then you:

•   Ensure that you do not inadvertently miss any important tasks; and

•   Can focus on “doing the work” rather than figuring out what to do.

Work on your to-do list for a few minutes once or twice a day, and then you just need to follow the plan.

Execute the top priority items first, when you are at your most productive. If you are committed to great time management, then you will learn some clear lessons that will help you for life.

Here are a few of mine:



 Avoid interruptions

These are productivity killers. When you are focused on a task, do everything you can to avoid interruptions.



 Be disciplined with phone calls and e-mail

Just because the phone rings or an e-mail message arrives, it does not mean you need to react to each one immediately.



 Pick a good time

There are certain parts of the day that are better suited to certain tasks. For example, as a sales professional, I have better luck contacting clients early in the morning before they get into their day.



 Do the difficult

You should concentrate on the toughest tasks first, when you are freshest.



 Enjoy being task-oriented

Crossing completed tasks off your list is very satisfying.



 Have a system for each role

Every time you change jobs, your system needs to change. As a manager, you delegate tasks, and tracking those is a different challenge than actually doing your own tasks.

As a business owner, I wear a number of hats, which means having a system to ensure I am not missing tasks for any of those roles.



 Being organised equals less stress

My stress levels increase when I let my time management discipline slip.



 Keep it simple

Technology has given us some great tools, but sometimes paper works best.



 Suit yourself

You can get great ideas from lots of sources, but you have to decide what works best for you.



 Keep going

Time management is a never-ending task, both in the execution of your system and in the evolution of your system!

My contention is that if you practise great time management, then you will find a way to get all the things done that will contribute to your success.


Article by Kevin Dee, chief executive officer of Eagle, one of Canada’s largest professional staffing companies. You can read more of his writing at the Eagle Blog Article source: