1. We can manage time. We cannot manage time. Nor can we save it. Time ticks away relentlessly in spite of our efforts to control it. We are provided with 24 hours of time each day to use as we like. The key is in how we use that time. We can use it wisely, or we can waste it, but we can never save it. At the end of the day, it's gone.
2. Time management involves getting more done in less time. Some people may believe that, but effective time management refers to getting done fewer things of greater importance. We cannot possibly do everything we want to do, or all the things there are to do. But if we prioritize what there is to do, and focus on completing the priorities to the exclusion of everything else, we will be more effective.
3. "To do" lists help get things done. "To do" lists do nothing to further a project or task. They simply remind us that they are not done yet. Scheduling time in your planner, as appointments with yourself, to work on the tasks helps get them done. "To do" lists are intentions; scheduled blocks of time are commitments.
4. People need a "Personal Organizer" or other time management system to get organized. People are not organized because they use a time management system, they use a time management system because they are organized. Personal organization involves breaking old habits and forming new, effective ones. It is a state of mind as opposed to a state of the office. Some people are more organized using a 65-cent steno pad than others are using a 65-dollar organizer.
5. A "Quiet Hour" is a great time management tool. A "quiet hour" is a figment of time management writers' imaginations. There is no such thing as a "quiet hour". We can reduce interruptions, but never eliminate them. To be effective we must learn to work in spite of the interruptions. Frequently, interruptions are not time wasters, but opportunities arriving at inopportune times.
6. Keeping a time log to determine where your time is going, is the place to start. A time log should be done last, not first. All we need is more paperwork and interruptions when we're already inundated with them! We should get organized first, adopt effective habits, schedule time properly, put into practice time-reducing techniques and procedures, and once we have the time, keep a time log to effect further refinements.
7. The biggest time wasters include telephone interruptions, visitors, meetings and rush jobs. These are not time wasters, they are time obligations -- they come with the job. The biggest time wasters are self-imposed, such as procrastination, making mental notes, interrupting ourselves, searching for things, perfectionism, and spending time on trivial tasks. We are our own worst enemies. Being effective involves managing ourselves, not placing the blame on others.
8. It's more efficient to stick to one task until it's completed. It may be more efficient, but it's not more effective, for seldom will you have time to finish it. It's more effective to break large projects into small one or two-hour chunks and work at them for a brief period each day. Working on priorities involves frequent brief sprints, not occasional marathons.
9. We should have one planner for the office, and a separate planner for the home. We should have one planner, period. We are only one person, sharing our lives with people and activities at work, at home, at school, etc. Since we only have one life, we should only have one planner. Both business and personal activities should be scheduled in the same planner so business activities don't take precedence over personal and family activities.
10. Time is money. Time is more than money, it's life. You can always get more money, but you can never get more time. It's an irreplaceable resource. When time's gone, you're gone.