Great Time Management Tips

Confounded by email?

Tortured by your “to-do” list?

Procrastinating on everything but procrastination?

If so, I recommend reading 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by New York Times bestselling author Kevin Kruse. In relatively few pages, it contains many tips from highly successful organization leaders, athletes and other super-achievers.

Here are my favorites:

  • Create a 1,440 sign to remind you of the number of minutes in a day. (page 14)
  • Identify your MIT—What is the single most important task to get you closer to your goal right now? (page 24)
  • Replace a to-do list with your calendar. Schedule time for everything you want to get done. (page 32)
  • Bribe & fine yourself: Identify something you desire but won’t get until you accomplish your goal. Fine yourself for procrastinating—send the money to your favorite charity or to an organization you don’t like. A website that will help you manage your “Commitment Contract”: (page 47)
  • Always carry a notebook with you. Whenever you have a thought of significance, immediately write it down. (page 60)
  • For email, use the 321–0 system. Schedule three times a day to process your email, set the timer on your phone for 21 minutes, and strive to get your inbox to zero in that time. (page 71)
  • When sending email, use the subject line to indicate the action required. Examples: FYI (for your information), ARB (action required by ____), NRN (no response needed), EOM (end of message)—meaning the recipient doesn’t have to open the message since the content is in the subject line. (page 73)
  • Use the word “deadline” to say “no” nicely. “Thanks for reaching out but I am on a deadline right now and I’m not taking new meetings or calls until I’m done.” (page 96)
  • The “Touch It Once” rule. If humanly possible, deal with the message you’ve just read immediately as opposed to saving it for later. If you can’t take immediate action, calendar your response as opposed to adding it to a to-do list. (pages 134-135)
  • The Pomodoro Method by Francesco Cirullo: Set a timer for 25 minutes to work on a single task with your full focus. Take a 5-minute break to move around and drink water. Repeat cycle. (page 153)
  • Instead of picking up the phone and calling, send a calendar invite or email: “Let’s connect to discuss ______. Is tomorrow at 11:00 ET good? If not, please suggest a few alternatives.” (page 166)
  • At the outset of meetings or discussions, remind people of the end time. “Before we get started I want to let you know that I’ve got a hard stop at 3:00.” (page 167)

More tips can be found at

ARB Now: Select at least one of these tips for immediate implementation. Otherwise, let me know the charity where you’ll be sending the money you fine yourself for procrastinating …