How to Create a Time Management System for Maximal Productivity
The 4-Step Time Management System
By Pamela MacElree, Success Coach
I get it: We’re all busy. There never seems to be enough time in the day. Too many things pop up that need to get done.
You have to get certain day-to-day items done. However, you’d like a life at the same time. 😉
How can you possibly get it all done?
How many of those questions and thoughts about time management and being productive have gone through your head recently, if not in the last 24 hours?
The Secret about Time Management
Here’s the secret about time management, particularly if you’re a business owner or entrepreneur: Find the way that works for you and stick to it.
Sound too simple to be true? It is definitely simple, but that is where the beauty lies! I’m going to give you 4 steps on how to create an effective time management system so you feel productive and not just busy.
When it comes to time management, find the way that works for you and stick to it.
First things first, decide on whether or not you are going to use an electronic calendar like Google, iCalendar, or something similar or if you’re going to go old school and use a paper calendar. I personally use both but rely heavily on the paper calendar—it goes with me everywhere. The choice is yours, but just decide.
Step 2: Block Off the Indispensable
Let’s see what kind of time you have. Block off all the hours that you do the following:
- Coach or train clients/athletes
- Specific personal/family time that is non-negotiable
Next, mark off when you are going to work out. If you don’t do this regularly now, you’re about to start, at least three days a week. Schedule it.
Step 3: Choose and Prioritize Your Rocks
Now the fun part. What needs to be done, and when it will get completed?
Most people can work really well in 60-120-minute time blocks. My optimal time is 90 minutes, but that doesn’t mean I skip out on any 60-minute opportunities; rather, I just try to schedule as many 90-minute blocks each day as possible. I also leave a 15-30-minute block of time between scheduled tasks. This is important to stay focused. On the same token, if you’re moving forward with good momentum, it’s not a requirement to stop working and start back up again.
List the tasks that you believe to be a priority in your business, the things that need to get done that have a direct correlation to the bottom line or functionality of your business. If possible, do not let this list get past 9-12 priorities.
More than likely, these 9-12 items are bigger items, tasks that have multiple steps that need completed in order for the task to be considered complete. We like to call them rocks, important items that take 2-3 months for accurate and effective completion. Prioritize your 9-12 in order with #1 being the most important.
Step 4: Focus on the Top 3
Here’s where I ask you to do what seems like the impossible: Focus on the top 3. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the rest, but we need to focus on the top 3. Are the ones you assigned 1, 2, and 3 really the top 3? Do they have the most impact on your business right now for not being complete?
It’s crucial to make sure your priorities are accurate.
For each of the 3 top priorities, I’d like you to list the components that need to be completed in order for each priority to be considered complete. For just one priority, there could be several to dos or very many steps.
Take these sub-tasks and schedule them into your time blocks. Don’t be over zealous in this task; just get 2-3 scheduled and complete each day. The hard part for you will be sticking to this schedule, not allowing yourself to schedule anything else in its place.
This, however, is the key. Each of these time blocks must be treated with the same importance that you treat, sleep, coaching, and non-negotiable family/personal time. No exceptions!
Pamela has owned and operated her own fitness business in the Philadelphia area for the last decade. In addition to training clients, she has spent the past 4 years coaching other fitness professionals through FR Nation. Pamela has her Masters degree in Sports Performance and Injury Prevention, and also has expertise in kettlebell training, women’s fitness training, time management, goal setting, and accountability. She lives in Mt Airy, PA with her husband and their three furry, four-legged children: Bella, Leo, & Max.