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A Very Short, Very Advanced "Course" in Time Management

By Marty Nemko

Here are the keys to getting more done in less time.

1. Embrace work. If you recognize that the more you accomplish, the better you’ll feel about yourself and your life, you’ll get more done.

2. Write a personal mission statement. Example: “I want to be a beloved manager while allowing time for my kids and my hobby: acting.” When in doubt about what tasks to prioritize, your mission statement can often help you decide.

3. Be time conscious, aware that time is your most valuable commodity. That is the key to time management. So, always be asking yourself, “Is this time-effective?” Sub-questions:

§ Should I do this task, delegate it, or say no?

§ If I’m going to do it, should I do it full-bore or, in this case, is good enough good enough?

§ If I’m not sure of the most time-effective way to do a task, whom should I ask?

3a. Hire a personal assistant. I believe that every non-poor person should hire one, even if just for a few hours a week. That person could do things like errands, housecleaning, whatever you don’t like but someone else could do reasonably well without your having to spend too much time on training. The extra hours you’ll free-up far exceed the cost of your assistant.

3b. Beware of meetings. Meetings are among the biggest time wasters. If you’re in a position to decide whether to convene one, think three times before scheduling one, let alone a standing one. If you decide you really need a meeting, invite only the people who really need to be there. Don’t just invite people “to be inclusive.” The time-suck usually greatly outweighs the benefit. Then, send a tight agenda and any material for review in advance. Before making an off-site person get into a car let alone on a plane to attend a meeting, consider a teleconference or webconference. Software such as WebEx ( makes webconferencing very easy. If you’re asked to attend a meeting, especially a standing meeting, realize that it may not be because you’re needed but because today’s corporate-think says, “Be inclusive.” If you’d rather not be included, ask your boss if you could opt out, for example, by saying, “I believe I could make better use of the time if I did X.” Your boss may say no but there’s usually no harm in asking. That’s an example of another key to time management: Ask for what you want.

3c. (Optional) Keep a Time Log. If you’re not sure you’re time-effective, for at least a day, keep a memo pad with you and every time you change tasks, write the time and what you’re starting to do. At the end of the day, review your time log. Not sure if you have been time-effective? Show your log and key work products to someone who gets a lot done.

A time-effective summary of this article: Throughout the day, ask yourself,” Is this time-efficient, and where possible, consistent with my personal mission statement?”

A super time-effective summary: Be conscious about time.

Anyone wish this course were longer?

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