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A closer look at time management

What is more valuable than gold, weighs nothing, disappears as you attempt to measure it, and is wasted more than any other resource?  You guessed it – time. If we could bottle it and sell it to the aging population, we’d be rich. Unfortunately, each of us is allocated only a specific amount of time. It has to last us a lifetime because it is our lifetime, and we can neither subtract from it, nor add to it.

In some countries, selling organs such as one of your kidneys, can gain you some money. But nowhere is it possible to sell your time. Your time, your life, is yours to spend, and yours only. How will you spend it? If you have not consciously thought about budgeting your time, I suggest you do so. We budget our money; but how many of us actually sit down and establish our purpose or mission statement, set some lifetime objectives, plan our days and budget our time? Based on what I have discovered at my workshops over the past forty years, very few of us.

The great thing about time management is that you don’t need any particular skills or prerequisites. You simply decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. If there’s nothing you want to do, that’s probably what will get done. If you have no goals, you’ll no doubt reach them all with a minimum of effort.

But if you have a vision of becoming a successful entrepreneur, president of a corporation, church leader, volunteer, author, politician or if you want to be financially independent, retired at age 55, a world traveler, a respected authority in a fascinating field of your choice or if you want to be a great parent, an educator, a sports historian, a physically fit, healthy individual – if there’s anything you dream of doing, having or becoming, you can probably do it, have it, or become it if you take control of your time.

Time management involves determining what you want out of life, including your job or profession and setting some specific targets. Once you have your goals established, timeframes determined, and a schedule of the time for the necessary tasks required to reach these goals recorded in our planner, it becomes simply a matter of working on those tasks. Listing goals shows interest in them; but scheduling time for goals shows your commitment to achieving them. A dream becomes a goal when you have a plan for achieving it.

For some of us it’s not that simple, because many of us do not have the self-discipline or motivation necessary to stick to a plan. Time management includes the self-control necessary to persist in the pursuit of our goals – in spite of the interruptions, meetings and crises that invariably occur. In spite of the temptation to procrastinate, take the path of least resistance or give up altogether.

Time management is not getting more things done in less time. It’s getting fewer things done – but things of greater importance – in the time that we have left. It’s not saving time. Time can’t really be saved. And even if it could, it’s more important to live time than to save time.

It’s not the attempt to eliminate interruptions, meetings, telephone calls or low priority obligations. These will always exist to varying degrees. Time management is simply zeroing in on what is important to you. Doing less, but doing it better. And doing it with determination and persistence.

The time management ideas, shortcuts and tips that you get from other articles, books, seminars and recordings will help you by freeing up more time to work on your goal related activities. But they will not give you the motivation, willpower, self-discipline needed to actually work on them. That comes from within. You already have it; but you must learn to use it. It’s a classic example of on-the-job training. We learn by doing.

So do it. If you slip, if you fail, if you quit, start again. Any small success increases the probability of a greater success later. The height of one’s effectiveness varies directly with the depth of one’s commitment. Persistence can become habitual. Motivation kindled by a desired goal will get you started. And habit will keep you going.

True time management is not something that you learn. It’s something that you do. It does not come from others. It comes from yourself. From within. You can do what you have decided in your heart to do.

Clear, concrete, concise goals will increase your confidence that they can be achieved.

Motivation is desire multiplied by expectancy. If you really want something badly enough, and you really believe that what you are doing will achieve it, you are motivated to achieve it.

Set realistic goals that will have a major positive impact on your life. Reveal your goals to your supporters, but not to your critics. We all need cheerleaders. When the going gets tough, focus on the payoff. Visualize the rewards. And measure progress by what you have accomplished to date, not by what remains to be done.

Note: If you want an in depth course on time management, which includes 5 recordings, 54 pages of student notes, and a copy of my best-selling book, Making Time Work for You, all downloadable for $14.95 U.S., visit and click on Shop at the top menu and select Download Products.


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How to make good decisions


Slow decision-making wastes time, as do spur-of-the moment decisions, which frequently result in costly and time-consuming mistakes. But the worst thing you can do is to procrastinate on decision-making. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, once conducted a survey of successful people and found all of them were decisive. Don’t be afraid of being wrong. We learn from our mistakes; but if we do nothing, we neither accomplish anything nor learn anything.

Delay until you have enough information; but don’t wait until you have all the information. If you have all the information, the course of action becomes a foregone conclusion: no real decision is necessary. Have the courage to make decisions with only 70% to 80% of the facts. When you have mulled over the facts and considered, the alternatives, sleep on it if an immediate decision isn’t required. Spend time in proportion to the importance of the decision. For instance, don’t waste a lot of time discussing the menu for the staff Christmas party. The decision to close down an operation or expand the product line warrants a greater expenditure of that costly commodity call time. Make minor decisions quickly. If the consequence of the decision is not important, it is not worth much of your valuable time. Spend time in proportion to the importance of the decision.

If the decision is yours alone to make, and you seem to get bogged down in the process, and get frustrated by your lack of progress, it’s frequently faster in the long run to leave the problem for a short period of time. Work on some unrelated jobs for a few hours or even a few days and then tackle the problem anew. The change in pace will revitalize your thinking. But delay it only once or you will be tempted to procrastinate.

In some cases it might be better to leave the problem until the next day. Your brain never stops working, and it has been shown that people make better decisions in the morning.

Always make short-term decisions with long-term objectives in mind. Don’t make a band aid decision that solves the immediate problem, but results in time-consuming problems further down the road.

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How to run effective meetings


To run effective meetings, you must control both the length of the meeting and the meeting itself. Regardless of whether you spend an average of one hour or six hours each day in meetings, there is considerable time savings to be realized by running them efficiently. Here is a summary of the most important things to keep in mind when calling a meeting.

Invite only those who are essential to the success of the meeting.

If people are unlikely to contribute to or benefit from the meeting, don’t include them. Try to keep the total number of attendees fewer than 8 people. According to the book, Decide and Deliver: 5 Steps to Breakthrough and Performance in your Organization, once you have seven people in a decision-making group, every additional person reduces effectiveness by 10 percent.

Plan the meeting in advance.

Avoid last-minute agendas. Anticipate which topics will generate the most discussion, disagreement and time loss. Leave the contentious issues last – when people are less likely to waste time. Put the priority items that will generate the least discussion near the start of the meeting. Allocate estimated time limits to every agenda item, and be sure to include an ending time as well as a starting time on the agenda.

Prepare, and encourage participants to prepare.

Insist that any suggestions for the agenda be submitted at least a week in advance in order to be included on the agenda. Have the agenda and any reports to be discussed distributed to the other participants at least 3 days in advance of the meeting. Discourage participants from wasting everyone else’s time reading reports at the meeting. Meetings are for discussion and decision-making.

 Start on time.

Don’t make exceptions. If anyone arrives late, including your boss, explain that you are now on item 2 or 3. Don’t apologize for being prompt and efficient. Set a businesslike but friendly tone, keep the meeting on course, and encourage participation while maintaining control. Resist the urge to summarize the progress to date for every late arrival. If they ask, tell them you’ll update them after the meeting.

Make notes at every meeting and encourage others to do likewise.

Record decisions reached, actions required, the individuals responsible for the various actions, and the expected completion dates. Review this information at the end of the meeting to ensure that everyone is clear as to his or her responsibilities. If everyone takes notes, there is no need to wait for minutes to be issued before taking action.

Don’t waste the group’s time on one person’s responsibilities.

If you have made a group decision and provided input, assign the action to one person, not several. If a few people have strong feelings as to how something should be done, ask them to submit the suggestions in writing to the person who will be taking action.

Always take a few minutes after every meeting to evaluate how it went.

Jot down what you will do next time to improve the process. Continually strive to reduce the time loss and increase the value of every meeting you manage.


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How your work environment can impact productivity.

Office environment

Your environment definitely affects your actions, and in turn, your productivity. This holds true in situations other than work. For example, if you use a larger spoon or a larger plate, you will eat more, hospital patients with a window view need less medication and heal faster, and children who live closer to a fast food outlet are usually more obese.

Consider the impact of nature, whether in the form of green space, gardens or parks, on the health and well-being of individuals. According to the June, 2016 issue of Scientific American Mind, “exposure to natural settings has been linked with a vast array of human benefits, from reduced rates of depression to increased immune functioning.”

Recent studies have found that urban green spaces improve cognitive development in children, and those close to park land had better memory development, attentiveness and creativity.

As for productivity in an office environment, potted plants, white noise, music, natural lighting, air circulation, physical organization, windows facing the outside world, the ability to feed off the energy of others, and even a cheerful office decor with scenic pictures on the walls can increase productivity as well as improve mood and personal well-being.

Take plants for example. Based on recent research, it might appear as though your ideal office environment would be a forest with plenty of vegetation surrounding your desk and a trout stream gurgling its way past you. Unfortunately that discounts the blackflies, mosquitoes, gusty winds, darkened sky, and the noise of trains, tractors and thunderstorms in the distance.

Convert your house plants to office plants.

But in choosing our office and decor, we should not overlook the possibility of merging more with nature. The more we gravitate toward the cities and hole up in our offices, the more we withdraw from nature and its largely unrecognized or unappreciated benefits. Studies have shown that the presence of potted plants, for example, improves productivity, creativity, performance and learning ability. In the case of schools, the presence of plants improved scores in mathematics spelling and science between 10% and 14%.

Researchers have also found that plants act as vacuum cleaners removing pollution from the air. Exposure to indoor and outdoor pollutants in both home and offices has been linked to anxiety, depression, irritability, fatigue and short and long-term cognitive decline among other afflictions.

One study involved new computers, which had been shown to give off chemicals into the air. When a batch of new computers were hidden behind a divider, cognitive testing showed it reduced performance and increased errors by those workers closest to the hidden computers.

Plants not only give off oxygen, they are able to absorb environmental chemicals and transport them to the soil, rendering them less harmful. NASA used plants to keep their astronauts healthy while working in enclosed places constructed of synthetic materials. Potted plants have reduced indoor pollutants by at least 75%.

A few years ago I moved my home condo office from a windowless room that used to be a dining room to the solarium where I am surrounded by two walls of glass and access to the balcony. I bought plants for the balcony, complete with window boxes. I have a table and chairs there where I do a lot of my writing and have a view of treetops from my ninth floor condo.

It is not my highest performance area. That’s a local coffee shop, which I referred to in my blog a couple of weeks ago – “Are you going to work or working on the go?” It’s important to add a little variety to your workplace. It gets you moving, which in another key to productivity in the office. I will discuss this in my next blog article.

Next blog article: Motion sickness beats death by sitting.


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Are you going to work or working on the go?


For some people an office is still a physical place of work such as a fully equipped room, a cubicle or a desk in a fixed location. But for more and more people, the office is their digital handheld device, which goes with them wherever they go. They feel it’s no longer necessary – or in some cases they no longer have the opportunity – to have a specific place of work. And many no longer have a hardcopy planner, paper documents and files, a landline telephone and regular face-to-face interactions with others.

For these people, work is no longer a place to go to, but a state of mind. There is no limit to the length of a workday. The 9-to-5 day is being replaced by the 24-hour day. There is no beginning or end to work – just as there is no single location where the bulk of the work gets done.

In days gone by, when we all had structure in our lives, we scheduled breaks, lunch hours, and time to rejuvenate. When he did work at home, it was said to be “on our own time.” Normally, the time after 5 PM was spent at home with family and friends or going to a ball game or for a walk in the park or kicking a soccer ball with the next-door neighbour’s kids.

And in spite of spending two thirds of our time away from the job, we managed to build successful businesses, drive nice cars, and maintain a decent level of productivity.

I’m not saying the old way of working was better, only different. We increased productivity in those days by taking time management seriously and utilizing most of the working portion of the days getting the important things done. This required that we set goals, establish policies and procedures, increase efficiency, focus on priorities and learn when to say no. We had to overcome both procrastination and perfectionism, cooperate with our coworkers, and generate new ideas through team effort. We did not work in isolation. The result was quite astounding considering that we had limited technology and limited time.

Just think what today’s workers could accomplish with today’s technology, flexibility and unlimited access to information if they were also able to add structure to their lives, control the technology, and work efficiently in this ever changing environment.

Different times require different strategies. So the next few articles may apply more to those millions of mobile workers who either work on the move or at least partially work from home.

The June, 2016 issue of Mindful magazine mentioned that an estimated 105 million people will be “mobile workers” by 2020, getting their work done with flexible office situations. And a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey found that 24% of all workers work at home at least part of the day.

How does one stay productive in an environment that may change from week to week or even day-to-day? Well to start, we can apply those time-tested strategies that will still work regardless of the environment. These would include setting specific goals for the week, developing personal policies or guidelines, planning our week, and making specific commitments as opposed to simply working from “to do” lists. Many of these strategies have been lost as we scurry to keep up with the quickening pace of life.

We have been playing “rushing” roulette, gambling that the next email opened might not be a waste of time. So quickly check your email in the morning if you feel less stressed doing so, and then limit yourself to 90 minute intervals throughout the rest of the day.

You could add additional structure to your week by selecting at least one high-performance work area where you are more self-disciplined and focused, and spend at least part of each day there.

Your high-performance area is a place where you have the most energy and get your best ideas. This could be a coffee shop or a room at home or a table on the patio. For instance, I like to spend a good hour and a half working on priority tasks at a coffee shop immediately following a brief walk. Being a morning person, I am most mentally alert and creative at that time. Also the coffee shop is well lit with natural lighting and a soothing hum that tends to mask noises and encourage creativity. This is not meant to be a coffee break but rather a work break – free from text messages, email or phone calls. So turn off or silence your devices while working in your high-performance area..

Once we add structure to our lives, most of the other strategies become easier to apply. I suggest the following order:

  1. Set boundaries for your workday. It doesn’t have to be 9 to 5 but be specific. For many people this currently varies greatly from day-to-day – even extending into weekends, family time and vacation time. Structure is essential because if you have 24 hours to complete your priority tasks, it may take 24 hours to do so. So define your workday.
  2. After deciding in advance what your workday will be, roughly allocate time for the important projects, tasks and activities that are currently on your plate. This requires the use of a planner or other tool that matches your style. I prefer a hardcopy planner in which I block of times for the important activities – both discrete tasks and ongoing projects. Block out project times at least a week or two in advance.
  3. Develop routines and habits for those ongoing important repetitive activities that you have identified. This conserves energy, saves time, and makes it easier to get things done on time.

These steps, which seem to represent old ways of doing things, may seem impossible in today’s environment. But I hope to prove to you in future blog articles that it is possible if you make a few tweaks to the way you currently do things.

Next blog article: A little self-discipline goes a long way.


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Effective time management requires making wise choices.


Researchers have claimed we get a dopamine rush whenever we capture a Pokemon creature or receive favourable news in an email message or see our name mentioned in a Facebook or Twitter post.

This carrot and stick approach motivates us to enter deeper into the technology trap until we become helplessly addicted to the highs we get. But a shot of the “feel-good” hormone called dopamine is a poor exchange for the time and productivity that we sacrifice in order to get it.

Take the latest fad or phenomenon (depending on how it turns out) of the augmented virtual reality game called Pokemon Go. In its defence, I will admit that it at least it gets people active – although reports of walking along subway tracks and playing the game while riding a bicycle are not exactly safe exercises. Walking through the city, cemeteries, and museums and even off-limits military bases catching virtual creatures might be a lot of fun. But it’s the degree to which we are drawn into these fantasies that concern me. Pokemon Go was launched on July 6, 2016, and one week later had about 21 million users.

Did all these people, who already were spending more time on this game (about 33 minutes a day) than they spend on Facebook (about 25 minutes a day) really make a conscious decision to get involved? Or were they so conditioned by the lure of technology that it was an automatic response?

In the July 18, 2016 issue of Toronto Star, the game developer CEO was quoted as saying, “The game itself is intended to facilitate the real-life stuff.” I’m not sure what’s wrong with the real life stuff as it is; but much of it is being ignored in the process. Who is looking after the store, the schoolwork or the family? Games make real life easier, but not better.

According to a list of facts gleaned from the Internet, 6 of 7 billion people have a mobile device, 4.5 billion have a toilet, and 4.2 billion have a toothbrush. Perhaps we should spend less time playing Pokemon Go and more time making toilets and toothbrushes.

Whether it’s email, instant messaging, Facebook or Pokemon Go, I reiterate what I said in a previous blog, “Everything in moderation.”

We should spend more time honing our willpower and self-control so we can spend less time on virtual reality. What we think about and focus on is what we become. It’s easier to dunk a donut into a cup of coffee in the morning than to cook oatmeal; but it’s not better for you.

Effective time management has been defined as making good choices. Are you choosing wisely?

Next blog article: Who is calling the shots, you or your computer?

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Managing your brain, part 10.

mirror brain

Listen to what your brain is telling you.

Strong friendships give both your physical and mental health a boost. The February, 2014 issue of Scientific American Mind reported on a quantitative review of numerous studies, concluding that having few friends is the mortality risk equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. People with a close friend at work are more productive and more innovative. Strong social connections are the biggest predictor of happiness in general – and happiness has been linked to do an increase in longevity.

According to an article in the May/June, 2016 issue of Scientific American Mind, not only are close relationships good for your health, there is also evidence that the absence of friends – or loneliness – can be toxic for your health. It can lead to increased mortality, depression, aggressiveness, poorer sleep and elevated blood pressure.

A bad mood is contagious, according to Gary Lewandowski, Jr., associate professor of psychology at Monmouth University. You unknowingly pick up other people’s nonverbal behaviors and tend to mimic them – similar to yawning. (It is more common when the person yawning is someone close to you.) Similarly you can pick up their high energy or low energy, positivity or negativity, enthusiasm or lethargy.

And as if having to cope with the hazards of secondhand smoke isn’t bad enough, it’s now found that secondhand stress can be hazardous to our productivity and health as well. The suggestion that stress can be contagious, and that we are influenced by the actions and emotions of others is based on research that suggests a class of brain cells called mirror neurons that appear to reflect the actions & feelings of others.

Our mirror neurons fire regardless of whether we or someone else is performing a specific action. That enables us to relate to the person to the degree that we even have a fair idea of why they are performing that action. This empathy with others includes emotions. So if you cringe at the sight of someone else getting hurt, empathize with your friend who is grieving and feel uncomfortable when a coworker is upset and anxious, blame it on these specialized brain cells. No wonder our mothers warned us to stay away from obnoxious people, surround ourselves with positive friends, and be polite to people.

When mother said, “This hurts me as much as it hurts you,” she wasn’t fibbing. Studies show that the pain we feel when others get hurt activates the same regions of the brain that are activated when we actually get hurt ourselves. And there is thin line between being physically hurt and emotionally hurt. In her book, How the body knows its mind, Sian Beilock reports that a daily dose of Tylenol diminishes the hurt feelings that often accompany being socially teased, spurned or rejected.

Not only does this make sense of the fact that we sometimes get “bad vibes” from people we meet, it also proves that we can have a positive influence on others – whether family, friends or business associates – by being kind, caring, compassionate and cheerful.

Choose carefully those with whom you associate; because you can pick up their bad moods as easily as you can pick up good moods. Avoid toxic people whenever possible. And don’t ignore your intuition or gut feelings when you transact business with someone.

Your brain could be telling you something.




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Managing your brain, part 9


Creativity in action.

My habit over the past twenty years or more was to go for a walk in the morning with my writing tools tucked inside a computer bag, thinking along the way about the article I was to write that morning. When I reached my destination – a coffee shop about twenty minutes from my home, I would take out my pad and pen, and amazingly I would complete the article without difficulty in the span of 30 minutes or so. It had almost written itself in my mind as I had been walking.

I originally thought it was the fresh air, relaxed state of mind, and the free time available to think about the topic that made the ideas and thoughts flow so easily.

But it was actually the body movement. Our creative ability is enhanced by walking, exercise or even simply gesturing. As expressed by Sean Beilock in her book, How the body knows the mind, (Atria Books, 2015) “moving the body can alter the mind by unconsciously putting ideas in our head before we are able to consciously contemplate them on our own.”

Movement can help us to solve problems and even increase productivity. And it’s one of the keys to remembering long lists of information in workshops through the storytelling, thinking and association techniques that we teach. (See my ebook, Boost your memory and strengthen your mind, published by

Moving your body can actually change how you think. Whether you are an actor rehearsing lines, a speaker memorizing a speech or a student recalling facts, when you include motion either physically or in your mind during the memorizing process, it makes memory and recall easier.

You have no doubt heard the expression “thinking outside the box” when talking about creativity. Well, researchers at Cornell University actually had volunteers sit inside a huge box while solving problems. They were outperformed by others walking freely outside the box. So resist the impulse to sit at your desk when solving a problem. And don’t sit around a boardroom table when brainstorming new ideas in your company. Research appears to substantiate the wisdom of stand-up meetings from more than simply a time management perspective.

The neurotransmitter, dopamine, which declines with age, plays a role in creativity, and exercise helps to slow or prevent this decline. So keep active your entire life; because if you’re idle, your mind may be idle as well. By managing your body, you are helping to manage your brain as well; because the body and the brain work in tandem.

This doesn’t mean you won’t get ideas while working at your desk as well. Ideas could flash through your mind and then disappear while you are busy working on a project. It’s a good idea to capture those thoughts immediately – either in a journal, smart phone or booklet – something more substantial than a scrap of paper that could itself disappear.

For example, we have a “Back Burner” page at the back of our Taylor Planner where we can quickly jot down those fleeting thoughts before continuing with the task at hand. The Daily Priority Pad also has a section for these ideas.  Creativity frequently happens when you’re busy doing something else. You can see both of these items at our website,

By the way, I still take that walk – sometimes varying the route and coffee shop. I still write the article, or book chapter or whatever longhand, in cursive writing – perhaps from habit – but I do believe it is also good exercise for the brain. Then I dictate it to my computer when I get home – using voice-activated software.

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A solution to shrinking planning times

Priority Pad

What does a day’s work consist of?

A weakness of all planning calendars, whether hard copy or electronic, is that they allow you to schedule and list more work than you can possibly get done in a week. We probably all know that we should not attempt more than a day’s work in any given day; because to do a so causes anxiety and stress and makes us more vulnerable to distractions and inattentiveness. And when you have more to do in a week than you can possibly get done, priorities frequently take a back seat to quantity as you attempt to get as many things done as possible.

One solution to the problem would be to take one day at a time, listing only those priorities and urgent items that could reasonably be done in a day. However it is difficult to know what comprises a day’s work.

When determining a day’s work, take into consideration the length of your working day, the interruptions that you anticipate, and the type of activities you will be involved in – and always allow up to 50% more time that you estimate your activities will take.

The Daily Priority Pad helps you to limit to the essential priorities, important tasks and urgent activities to those that can be done in one day. This one-day-at-a-time approach allows greater focus, facilitates the changing priorities that occur during the week, help us to quickly learn from experience what a day’s work really is, and frees your mind from those items that need only be addressed at a later date.

It can be used either in conjunction with or independent of an annual planner. When used with an annual planner, such as the Taylor Planner or an electronic device with a week at a glance format, each page in the Daily Priority Pad is the day’s action plan distilled from the broader weekly plan outlined in your planner.

When used independently, normally by those individuals unable to realistically schedule activities as far as a week in advance, it replaces the annual planner.

This short range planning tool is needed in today’s working environment where the time between planning and action is becoming shorter each year, and in which the choices available to us are increasing exponentially.

The Daily Priority Pad retains the priority and “to do” sections of the Taylor Planner, while limiting scheduled activities to a few appointments – either with others or yourself, and provides a “Notes” section for a limited amount information  or journaling. The Daily Priority Pads can be viewed and ordered at our website home page,

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Investing time yields dividends

Time Investments

Time Investments

It takes time to save time

Time Investments are those activities that eventually free up more time than they consume. For example, many people fail to plan because planning takes time. As a result, they lose more time battling crises than the planning would have taken. Planning is a time investment.

Similarly delegation, communication, exercise, technology, goal setting, forming habits, self-development, procedures and networking are all examples of time investments. If you had time to work on them they would free up more time in turn.

Unfortunately, like money investments, the payoff usually takes time. And time is at a premium. Although delegation will free up huge chunks of time in the future, the time spent training others takes place in the present. Since most people already have a full day, where do they get the hour or more needed each week in order to do the training?

The same question could be asked of any of the time investments mentioned. That new digital handheld device may save time, but we need time to learn how to use it properly. Similarly we know that regular exercise will keep us more energetic, healthier, more mentally alert and more productive, but where do we get the half-hour or more each day to make it happen? It takes time to set goals, form time saving habits, develop procedures and communicate properly. Where does that time come from?

That’s where many of the time management tips can come into play. Not the ones I call behavioral ideas, which require that habits be formed before they will work, but those mechanical ideas that will free up time immediately. For example, arranging action files vertically in step file holders within easy reach instead of piling them horizontally on your desk eliminates a lot of searching and shuffling. Upgrading your digital devices and equipment, backing up your files in the cloud, using voice-activated software and text-replacement software, all save time – which in turn can be used on time investment activities such as training.

An idea may only save you one minute a day; but multiply that minute by sixty similar ideas and you have an hour. Imagine being able to free up five hours each week! That represents time for training or sleeping or exercise – or any other time investment.

You only need time for one time investment to start, since that one will generate the time for others. If you start with delegation, for instance, you will soon free up the time that the delegated task has been taking. Then you would spend some of that time on planning, which would free up more time to invest in exercise and so on. You are re-investing the profits, so to speak, and continually increasing the amount of time at your disposal.

This process takes time, so don’t be impatient. You will gradually become more organized, more productive and more relaxed. Then when you start investing time in behavioral ideas, such as making notes while on the telephone, checking email less frequently scheduling tasks in your planner, saying no more often and reducing procrastination, your productivity will soar.

It takes time to manage time. And time, like money, cannot be manufactured. It must be earned. But by investing wisely in the present, you will reap timely rewards in the future.