Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

I’m not sure of what you prefer, but let me give you the bad news first.

Consider this, completed days, where everything on your to-do list is done at the end of the day are about as realistic as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. So lets not try and achieve them, because it’s futile and you’ll go nuts trying.

This is the problem with time management. Time management seems to focus on getting more and more done each day.

The problem is, if we keep filling our days with more and more work, we fill our minds and time to such an extent that we begin to function less effectively. We also do a bunch of things at a level we know is below our best and that becomes frustrating.

For the business owner, time is the scarcest commodity, but time management will never solve the problem. Success is not about doing more, it’s about achieving more.

Here’s the good news! We have to stop the blind quest for doing more and more, because it actually results in less and less.

If you remember nothing else, remember this:

The key to getting control of our time is actually doing the opposite. Getting control of our time requires you to continually give up stuff.

Joseph Juran, did some research that showed that for the average executive only 20% of our activities create 80% of our results. So it stands to reason that if we cut the 80% that contributes the 20%, we could be way more effective, less pressured and less stressed.

The problem however is in figuring out what items really contribute. If we examine most of what we do, it’s not difficult to convince yourself that nearly everything is important.

We have to be ruthlessly honest with ourselves and continuously work at getting rid of stuff.

We need to start with our goals. For every task, you should ask yourself before doing it; “Is this going to get me closer to my goals?” If the answer is no; either stop doing it or delegate it.

The best is to eliminate it altogether if you can.

Tim Ferriss author of the 4-Hour Work Week says:

“Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”

By the way if you haven’t read this book, get yourself a copy as quickly as possible. I think it will change your life.

Here’s one way you can begin to figure out what you need to start getting rid of. Before starting a thought, conversation or action, “What are the consequences of not doing this?” Make sure you link back to your goals otherwise you might try to fool yourself into thinking it’s important.

A lack of time is actually a lack of priorities, so until your priorities are clear you’ll find it difficult to prioritize effectively.

Once you begin this thought process, you’ll quickly find things that occupy your time, that you think are important, are often just busy work. If they are, eliminate them. Be ruthless it’s just like cleaning out a closet. It easy to fool yourself into thinking that you should keep on doing it, “just in case”, don’t let that happen to you.

What would happen if only checked e-mail once a day? What would happen if you never read another newspaper? What would happen if you let all your calls go to voice mail and only responded once or twice a day?

In most cases, unless doing so provides you with a strategic advantage, the answer is nothing. So why no do that. You’ll find it liberating and your productivity will improve as you spend more time on the things that produce results.