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Time Management Techniques of the Best Leaders

Executive Summary

Too many leaders spend their days feeling frazzled and overwhelmed. Armed with five tried time management techniques, Brian Tracy proposes a more effective and fulfilling way to lead.

  • Before you can begin simplifying your life, you must first decide what you value the most and organize your life around that.
  • Guard your time fiercely, for it's your most precious resource. How you decide to spend your time will determine both your personal and professional success.
  • Don’t be afraid to either outsource or let go of or the tasks and activities that demand your time and drain your energy. Make it your goal to do fewer but more important things.

Everyone has too much to do and too little time today. You feel overwhelmed with your duties, tasks, and responsibilities.

As a leader, those duties, tasks, and responsibilities are multiplied. The challenge is for you to simplify your life so that you spend more time doing the most important things to you and less time doing those things that are not at all important.

A great leader is someone who is effective, positive, in control, generally content, and even-keeled. If you are overwhelmed, you are probably none of these things.

Simplifying your life with time management techniques will not only make you a happier person, but it also will significantly increase your success as a leader.


1. Determine Your True Values

The starting point for simplifying your life is for you to decide exactly what is most important to you. What are your values? What are your core beliefs? What do you care about more than anything else?

To simplify your life, you should set peace of mind as your highest goal, and then organize your life around it.

💡 Do this: List out whatever brings you peace, satisfaction, joy, and the feeling of value and importance is right for you. Alternatively, list out whatever causes you stress, distraction, unhappiness, or irritation is wrong for you.

You must have the courage to organize your life so you are doing more and more of the things that give you the greatest joy and satisfaction and less and less of the things that take away from your joy and satisfaction.

2. Get Your Life in Balance

The key to balance is to ensure that your exterior activities are congruent and in alignment with your interior values.

💡 Do this: Use the 20/10 exercise. Imagine that you have $20 million, cash, in the bank, tax-free. Next, imagine that you also only have ten years to live, spend, and enjoy the $20 million. What changes would you make in your life?

One of the most important keys to simplification is to imagine no limitations on anything you would want to be or have or do. Imagine that you have all the time and money you need. Imagine that you have all the skills and abilities that you need. Imagine that you have all the friends and contacts. Imagine that you could do anything that you wanted. What would it be?

 3. Change Your Mind...and Own It

It is absolutely amazing how many people dig themselves into holes of stress, anger, frustration, and dissatisfaction because they are unwilling to admit that they have changed their minds.

💡 Do this: Is there anything in your life that you would not get into again today if you had to do it over? If there is, have the courage to admit that you have made a mistake (which all people do), and then take steps to change.

There are only four ways to change the quality of your life: you can do more of some things, or you can do less of other things. You can start doing something that you are not doing today, or you can stop doing something else altogether. What is it going to be?

 4. Restructure Your Work

Remember to apply the 80/20 rule to everything you do.

What is the 80/20 rule?

Eighty percent of the value of everything you do will be contained in 20 percent of the actions that you take. This means that fully 80 percent of the things you do have little or no value.

The secret to restructuring your work (and your life) is to spend more and more time doing the 20 percent of things that contribute the very most to your life and work. Simultaneously, you should spend less and less time doing those things that contribute very little. Sometimes, you should stop doing them at all. The worst use of time is to do very well what need not be done at all.

Practice creative abandonment with those tasks and activities that are no longer as valuable and important as others. Instead, do fewer and fewer things, but do things of higher value.

5. Delegate Everything Possible

When you start your career, you have to do everything yourself. But if you are going to grow, evolve, and become highly effective and well paid, you must delegate everything possible to anyone else who can possibly do the task.

💡 Do this: Use your hourly rate as a measure. How much do you earn per hour? (If you earn $50,000 per year, your hourly rate is $25 per hour.) Delegate everything to anyone who can do the task at a lower hourly rate than you want to make.

It is sometimes better for you to sit and simply think, using your creative powers, than it is for you to do low-paying tasks that tire you out and consume your time.


You’re Making This Harder Than It Is...

Simplify your life by practicing these time management techniques over and over, until they become automatic and easy. Make it a habit to look for ways to do fewer things but more important things. Make it a habit to simplify your life and simultaneously increase the joy and satisfaction that you receive. Go for it!

Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy is the Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. One of the top business speakers and authorities in the world today, he has consulted for more than 1,000 companies and addressed more than 5,000,000 people in 5,000 talks and seminars throughout the United States and more than 60 countries worldwide. He has written 55 books and produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on management, motivation, and personal success.

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