Labor Day has come and gone; the symbolic “end of summer.”  Many of us will reluctantly turn our attention away from summer recreations and will approach our work with renewed focus. Autumn brings a relentless schedule of deadlines, meetings and other challenges. Preparing a time management strategy is one way to improve our overall personal effectiveness. Time is constant, we can’t beat it, but we can manage it. Below are five time management strategies to improve personal effectiveness and success within your organization.

  1. Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
  2. Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done.
  3. Block out other distractions like Facebook, Instant Messaging and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business.
  4. Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to achieve. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. Take five minutes after each call and activity to determine whether your desired result was achieved. If not, what was missing? How do you put what’s missing in your next call or activity?
  5. Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.

Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results. We have to learn to let go of the “nitty gritty” and spend our time on the things that produce results.