Secrets to time management…

More efficient time management has been on my mind.  Emails piling up.  Project deadlines slipping.  Stress and tension escalating a wee bit.  I can “be” better.

In a recent post, James Altucher answered a reader’s question on “his secret to time management.”  (See his response below). 

I happen to agree with most of his tips (and wonder if post should have been renamed “the Introvert’s Guide to Time Management.”)

A few other tips come to mind that work for me: “Just say no” (to time soaks and matters that aren’t core or priorities).  “Cut the time of your meetings in half.”  “Delegate effectively.”

As Terry Thompson at Leadertank often says: “Join the conversation.” What is your secret(s) to effective time management?” And I’m begging you not to say avoid reading and responding to blogs like this one.” Smile



  • No TV
  • No dinner (you don’t really need it to live. And it’s hard to sleep when your stomach is digesting crab cake appetizers, pasta, steak, dessert, wine)
  • Don’t talk to anyone unless you really need to.  Silence is the best time saver.
  • Don’t travel for meetings
  • Actually, don’t go to meetings. My criteria for a meeting now is: unless I have a 10% chance of making $X at a meeting I won’t go. That’s a pretty good criteria for eliminating 90% of my meetings. And so now I’m happier.
  • Wake up before everyone else. I wake up at 4:30am. That’s 3 hours of silence at least. Because I didn’t eat dinner or watch TV I can go to sleep earlier.

Image Credit: Variable

Related Posts:

  1. What we pay the most attention to…
  2. Time Management (Not)…
  3. Rule #1: You Can Do Anything, But You Can’t Do Everything…
  4. Gnawing sense of anxiety about uncaptured work…
  5. Meetings…
  6. How Well Do You Manage Distraction?  Take this three minute quiz…
  7. How to get the right things done and stop drinking from a fire hose…


  1. Waking up at 4.30 a.m. is pretty extreme!!! and also no dinner…but I agree on the others. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Go to bed by 10.30 pm and rise by 6.30 am.
    Eat my evening meal by 7.30 pm.
    No caffeine in the afternoon or evening.
    Eat healthily i.e. avoid things that make me drowsy.
    Exercise (even more vigorously than before, thanks to your earlier post).
    Record the TV programmes I want to watch (which amounts to 3 at the moment), especially ones with adverts that I can later save time fast forwarding.
    Watch the recorded programmes while doing the ironing or whilst eating lunch on a rainy day when my husband is out and I need to give my brain a rest from work.
    Let people know that just because I’m at home (in my case writing and rehearsing music) it doesn’t meant that I’m not working.
    Have a phone that displays the numbers of callers, so I can ignore anything that looks like a sale’s call or someone who’s going to spend half an hour of myr precious time moaning about how awful their life is. how bored they are, or that they don’t have any friends.
    Avoid the coffee-morning circuit, or boring people who have nothing to do and are looking for you to entertain them.


  3. Reblogged this on Todd's Perspective.


  4. Awesome Post David. Thank you for the mention. I find it challenging to plan things because the moment that I do, something else takes priority. I have often found that one thing can consume a whole day if I let it, which sometimes is not a bad thing.

    I have been around those that talk about how they have worked 18 hours and accomplished 15,000 things. I congratulate them and then without missing a beat tell them they have a time management problem.

    I am always heavily filtering and prioritizing my work. I really don’t have any problem with saying “I can do that tomorrow” as long as I accomplished the meat and potatoes of what needed to happen today. However, I have noticed that what may seem like a priority for you is not always a priority for someone else and then of course you have to deviate from your plan.

    Below are some things that I do to help me manage my tasks/time.

    1. Write everything down that has to be accomplished
    2. Assign a priority to it (whether it’s a number, letter, or a star meaning “do it ASAP”
    3. Don’t bounce around from task to task
    4. If you do get tunnel vision, or tired, then take a break
    5. Drink water and periodically do exercise. I will do 10-20 push-ups and sit-ups every hour on the hour. These hourly adrenaline pumps are good and keeps me motivated

    These are just a few but hopefully sparked some ideas. Once again great post David.

    Join the conversation and let everyone know your tips, techniques, secrets, tools, and resources to better time management.

    Visit for Leadership Mentorship.


  5. Lists are great! At the moment I’m trying to find where I put the one I made for today.


  6. I am actually practicing most of these. But I find that I DO need to take a break midday for some healthy nourishment, moving about, and a few mintues of interacting with other people in person (not just online!), now that I am writing and diving into the writing world in a variety of ways fulltime again. I am gradually getting up earlier and earlier, as it gets light earlier and earlier. I rarely have more than juice and a few nuts in the evenings and go to bed early. A HUGE time saver is not fighting angst about my imperfections the whole time I am working–inner peace gradually growing is saving me a LOT of time.


  7. *Up at 5am almost every morning to walk the dog for 45 minutes and in warmer weather this is followed by a 300m to half Km swim
    *sort everyone else and get them out of the house
    *work from home (I use to waste 12 hours per week in travel)
    *start work by 8am (I better hurry and finish this comment)
    *I do not own a tv, radio, stereo or cell phone (very, very handy for saving time!)
    *Sometimes I do not even bother to answer my phone. Just let it ring! It will stop all on its own. It is never for me anyway and if it is they will call back…they know where I am…
    *meetings are a complete waste don’t get me started on that subject…
    *eat dinner by 5:30pm
    *walk the dog again for 45 minutes
    *go to bed around 7:30pm (Yes, I do.)


  8. Incredible list. Thanks for your sharing. You must be described as incredibly focused and efficient.

    “I do not bother even to answer my phone.” Me too.


  9. -Always up early – I need to get my share of solitude before the world wakes up.
    -Answer emails during three different times during the day and that’s it – don’t look at it in between
    -When I was working, no meeting lasted more than one hour. If there was no agenda, there was no meeting. Typically people made sure there was an agenda
    -Lists rarely worked for me – they seemed to propagate when I turned the office light off in the evening. But making a list in the morning and following it used to work for me.
    -Three styrofoam forms for my desk since my door was typically open – a green square meant come on in; the red ball meant – not now I’m slammed, and the yellow triangle signified ‘enter at your own risk’ – and/or if it was really important. Given my belief that my folks were more important than almost anything else, the green square usually prevailed.
    – Walk around when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Somehow it helps to see other people and clear your head for a little while.
    – Time is fluid; priorities shift – hold onto your ‘have to’s’ with a very light touch, for all of it can change in a moment.


  10. jcwaldron says:

    Identify/minimize/triage/manage distraction. Repeat.

    Recognize that relationships are important, rewarding, vital, sacred, difficult, demanding, distracting, and inefficient. And our raison d’être. Be gentle and be flexible with important relationships. (Do I grump? Ha! Yes, I grump! But I know it makes me feel worse and damages relationships, so I try to minimize grumping. That energy is better spent solving (or accepting)the problem that makes me grumpy!))

    Keep prioritized to-do lists. If it’s not on the list, don’t do it unless it’s an emergency or it’s time for a break.

    Take breaks. 1/7 of our waking time should be on break, according to Judeo-Christian teachings. (Loose interpretation.)

    Say no if it’s not important or urgent and/or won’t fit into the remaining 6/7 of waking time.


  11. I’m actually having to work on that…time management. Too bad it has to include blogging. 😦 Can I just have a life? Please???


  12. Thank you for sharing.


  13. Ed, thanks for sharing.



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