Time management skills are essential for anyone who wants to breed success. How you manage your time will determine how fast you will succeed in your endeavor. Brian Tracy, author of books on time management and personal productivity, says one of the differences between successful people and average people is how they manage and value their time. After reading many of his books I’ve gathered five of his best quotes on time management.
1. “If you have two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.”
Eating a frog is an analogy of doing your most important tasks first thing you wake up. Brian Tracy got it from the saying: If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long! By doing your most important task first you will less likely procrastinate on the other tasks later in the day. By getting the biggest task done first you also set the tone for the rest of the day for getting work done.
2. “One of the most important rules of personal effectiveness is the 10/90 rule.”
The first 10% of time that you spend planning and organizing your work before you begin will save you as much as 90% of the time in getting the job done once you get started. This is not to be confused with the 80/20 rule which is about determining your most valuable tasks. The 10/90 rule is about planning when and how you do your work. Without a game plan of how you are going to tackle the tasks at hand or not even knowing when you will do it will make you more likely to procrastinate. Whenever you start a new task or project, think about the 10/90 rule. Plan first, then start.
3. “The fact is that you can’t do everything that you have to do. You have to procrastinate on something. Therefore, procrastinate on small tasks.”
Let’s be realistic here; everyone procrastinates. If you have to do it, you might as well creatively procrastinate on things that aren’t as important. It’s a good idea to make a separate list of tasks that are not important but have to get done at some point. For example, organizing your bookshelf or cleaning out your closet are not really important but have to get done at some point. Whenever you feel like procrastinating, look over this list and see what you can knock off without much effort. You still get work done even when you feel like you are procrastinating.
4. “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.”
Brian Tracy also calls this the “law of forced efficiency”. Today we are overwhelmed with information and things we need to do. You often hear people say “I wish I had more time” when they feel overwhelmed. What he is saying is that if the task is really important, you will get creative and find time for it to finish. Sure, you might really have too many things to do but that is not the core problem. Instead, you want to ask yourself “what is the most valuable use of my time, right now?” and work on that right away. Anything else in comparison is relatively unimportant.
5. “The purpose of time management and getting more done in less time is to enable you to spend more face time with the people you care about and doing the things that give you the greatest amount of joy in life.”
The three biggest factors for determining your happiness are your health, wealth and relationships. With the right time management skills you can free up time so you can not only feel happier but also you can actively spend time on doing things that make you feel happier. Relationships with friends, family and your significant other are important for feeling happy so make sure you spend time with them.
Thanh Pham is a productivity nerd and he writes on his blog about time management and productivity.