Don’t do things in the order you receive them.

I’ve helped leaders at private, non-profit and public sector companies manage projects people and time better. Before that, I learned how to manage my own time and my team’s. Here are the two biggest shifts you make before you break through:

1) Don’t do things in the order you receive them. Do them by order of impact on your ultimate goal. Prioritize based on outcomes, not timestamps.

2) DO THOSE IMPACTFUL THINGS. Don’t list them, then check your feed, then take a walk, then check your inbox. Simply write the email. Make the call. Set a timer if you have to. 10 minutes of “do” every morning.

Let that safeguarded time grow to an hour. Then the morning. Watch how actually doing the thing delivers both relaxation and results.

Almost every time I’ve helped someone turn their time management around, it was easier to get them to prioritize than to actually follow through and do the important thing.
So I would ask them to list what they did INSTEAD. And it was legend. The long list of less important things people manage to get done in record time is breathtaking! Which also leaves no time to do “the thing.” The next time you are overwhelmed by to dos, make a list of everything you do in a morning. Then make a list of everything you need to do. Then choose one thing from that list that is most important to your goals.

That thing is rarely on the list of things my clients did earlier in the day.

The secret to time management isn’t having less to do. It’s doing what makes the biggest impact first. Recognizing it, then actually doing it.