1. You can’t manage time; you can only manage yourself. Time isn’t the problem. The key is learning to manage your behaviors, attitudes, focus, and energy. Again, quoting Goethe: “One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.”
2. Perfection is the enemy of progress. Here’s the truth: perfectionists get less done. Some tasks don’t need to be done perfectly; they just need to be done. For example, don’t write and rewrite an e-mail until it’s worded absolutely perfectly (unless it’s one of those policy, procedure, or all department e-mails). Just make sure you get your point across and use correct grammar and spelling.
3. Find your rhythm. Personally, I’m more productive if I have a few points of predictability during the week. Perhaps it’s lunch with a coach or turning off e-mail for an hour every afternoon. You can call this sustainable sameness or finding points of stability.
4. Work expands to the time allotted for it. Create smaller time segments. For example, do all meetings require an hour? Would others be disturbed if you began every meeting with the intent of ending it early? A surprising benefit of effective time management is reputation and relationship building: people will love you if you hold shorter meetings.
5. Remember “High Noon.” Once you list all of your tasks, determine to complete your top priorities by noon. Deadlines create urgency.