In his video  (available online at Time Management by Craig Valentine), Craig Valentine suggested the key to effective time management is by setting a target of doing just one important thing early in the morning,  Is it really this simple.

There are in fact several keys to effective time management and everyone will have a variation of them or indeed maybe there are as many keys as there are people.  I know of at least two people who have their watches set to be five minutes fast – so for them on time is always 5 minutes early.  This would not work for me because I would consciously remember that my watch was incorrect and my behaviours would follow.

I tend to abide by the following keys:

1) Always arrive early.

2) Get up in plenty of time so you need’t rush in the morning.

3) If travelling allow for another 25% time contingency.

4) Sleep Correctly – too much is as bad as too little.

5) Reassess your life priorities if you really cannot manage.

A good exercise for point 5 is to make an estimate of how you think you spend your week – all 168 hours.  If you are not within 10% either way of 168 hours something is amiss.  If it is too high you are trying to do too much and if it is too low you are unable to account for your time which means your time is being wasted.

Then keep an actual record of your entire week – totaling 168 hours and include as much as you can remember including sleep, travelling, watching TV, socialising, browsing on the internet or whatever you do.  Group together as an approximation things like using the toilet, washing etc – maybe call it ‘Hygiene’.

Comparing the two records will show how well you think you account for your time – again think within the +/- 10% margin – and if you are struggling your lists will help you to quantify, reprioritise and change where necessary.

What keys do you use to manage your time and how effective are they?  What other keys would you consider using and why?  Let us know your thoughts.