Becoming A Master Of Time - Proteus Leadership | Time management tips
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Becoming A Master Of Time

If you want to become an individual who maximises every second, versus one who spends time on an unlimited budget, there are four simple actions you’ll want to take.

Train your brain

If there is one point that you take from this over any other it is this: maximising time must be a mindset before it will ever become a habit. I can’t count how many people I have heard say, “I want to be better with my time!”. But, I can count just how many people have been able to do it. What is the difference between the two?

MINDSET first, habit second. Most people try and create the habit of being more efficient with their time before they have convinced themselves as to why.

Implement a system

The best definition of the word “system” in this context is: “organisational habits”. A system is the habits you have developed with how you organise your day and everything involved in it. You see, having a “system” forces you to do things consistently. When we do things consistently, we develop a pattern of behaviour, and that pattern increases our efficiency, which makes us faster. In other words:

Consistency = pattern = efficiency = accomplishing more in less time

The second reason why you want a strong “system” is to help guide your decision-making. It’s crazy how many arrows we have flying at us in a day. How do you choose what to do? What do we give our attention to and what do we let go?

An effective “system” will help solve that problem because your “system” works as a filter and a holding tank.

It aids in helping clarify what is important and what can wait. What is truly urgent and what is not.

A “system” will save yourself, time, energy and money!

There’s a quote I see in many of the offices I visit which states, “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part”.

It’s perplexing to me when I work with individuals who are stressed because of their own creations!

Make rules to live by

Through my experience of watching small differences of time utilisation create drastic differences for professionals, there are nine rules you can implement today to begin changing your results. Here they are in no specific order, with a brief explanation:

Rule #1: Plan your day

Jim Rohn, a premier expert in the field of personal development said, “many people spend more time planning vacations than they do their lives! Our days are no different. We take time to plan our vacations so they are enjoyable and we do what we want. Why are the days we work any different?”

Rule #2: Give yourself time to “clean up”

“I’ll do that first thing in the morning”, you promise yourself. The next morning while you are completing your task an email comes through that catches your attention. Before you know it, it’s 11:00a.m. and your day is doomed.

Advice: Get home at a time that warrants you the opportunity to clean up your day. Starting fresh the next morning is a great feeling!

Rule #3: “What is my ROI?”

Remember, there are a number of psychological factors that influence our behaviour, so check your actions often.

Ask yourself, “Is this THE most productive action I can be accomplishing right now?” If not, try and juggle your ‘to do’s’ and tackle the more productive option.

Rule #4: Adopt a minimalist mentality

A minimalist approach is effective WHEN it is appropriate. A minimalist mentality is doing the minimum work to meet the expectation. Once the expectation is met, move on! A huge time abuser is when we go unnecessarily overboard. The key to working this mentality correctly is using your professional intuition.

Rule #5: Take your pick – In or out

Do your best to devote each day to being in or out. Doing a bit of both is a time killer. Barring an emergency, commit to one or the other. Your production WILL rise!

Rule #6: Eight is great

Next time you are setting an appointment, be the initiator and ask to meet them at 8:00am or earlier if possible.

If you hesitate, they will likely throw out something later, and that’s fine as long as you try first! There isn’t anything tastier than a soft, warm pillow in the am, but your day will be much more productive when you are pushed out early!

Rule #7: Chunk your time

Think of accomplishing your tasks like you are working on an assembly line. Minimise your screen and check your emails every hour. Do all your quotes, research, or calls in chunks. Touching too many things at once just isn’t effective.

Rule #8: Do the most important first

One way to effectively chunk your time is to block off time first thing in the morning. That way you KNOW it will get done.

If you put things off, we both know the chances of it getting done later.

Rule #9: Windshield time = Learning time

How many hours do you think you spend behind the wheel every week?

Imagine how much you could learn on a topic if you CHOSE to invest that time in personal development.

You could become an expert in any field of study within a few years! So, this past week, how has the material you’ve been listening to made you more money or a better person?

Expect some bumps

How you spend your time is a series of behavioural habits and priorities, so even the greatest of intentions won’t put you at your final destination.

Learning how to maximise your time is a process, not something you possess.

Be gracious in your mistakes, while challenging the current way you operate.

Achieving this balance will allow for the necessary growing pains which are sure to accompany your journey, while simultaneously providing you with the self motivation and accountability necessary to complete your mission!

By Mark Heerema
Published with permission from the International Institute of Directors and Managers (IIDM) –


Proteus Leadership is one of Australia’s premier leadership training and development companies. Proteus Leadership provides leadership courses and management training to a range of industries and assists organisations to build positive workplace cultures, implement change and Create Great Leaders. Proteus also facilitates a range of world-class management courses, workshops, conferences and events across Australia and beyond with the sole purpose of bringing leaders together to connect and grow.

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