Most people learn time management the hard way: by trial and error.
Étienne Garbugli, a Montreal-based product and marketing consultant, the author of Lean B2B: Build Products Businesses Want, and the creator of “Control Alt Deceit,” a card game designed to replicate the process of starting a business, distilled the lessons he wishes he'd known when he was 20.
1. There’s always time. Time is priorities.
2. Days always fill up.
3. Work more when you’re in the zone. Relax when you’re not.
4. Respect your time and make it respected.
5. Stop multi-tasking. It merely kills your focus.
6. Set up a work routine and stick to it. Your body will adapt.
7. We’re always more focused and productive with limited time.
8. Work is the best way to get working. Start with short tasks to get the ball rolling.
9. Work iteratively. Expectations to do things perfectly are stifling.
10. More work hours doesn’t mean more productivity. Use constraints as opportunities.
11. Separate brainless and strategic tasks to become more productive.
12. Organise meetings early during the day. Time leading up to an event is often wasted.
13. Group meeting and communication (email or phone) to create blocks of uninterrupted work.
14. Keep the same context throughout the day. Switching between projects/clients is unproductive.
15. Work around procrastination. Procrastinate between intense sprints of work.
16. “Break the unreasonable down into little reasonable chunks. A big goal is only achieved when every little thing that you do everyday, gets you closer to that goal.
17. No two tasks every hold the same importance. Always prioritise. Be really careful with to-do lists…
18. Always know the one thing you really need to get done during the day.
19. Break tasks into hour increments. Long tasks are hard to get into; feels like it all needs to get done.
20. Delegate and learn to make use of other people.
21. Turn the page on yesterday. Only ever think about today and tomorrow.
22. Set deadlines for everything. Don’t let tasks go indefinitely.
23. Set end dates for intense or stressful activities. Everything ends at some point.
24. Always take notes.
25. “Write down anything that distracts you – Google searches, random thoughts, new ideas, whatever. The point is, if you write them down, they’ll stop bubbling up when you’re in the zone.”
26. Take breaks. Sometimes.
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