The most successful people place high value on their time and constantly strive to use it more efficiently and effectively.

As Brian Tracy says, “The starting point of developing good time management skills is for you to realize that time management is really life management. It is the way you take care of your most precious gift.”

1. Plan In Advance
Peter Drucker said, “Action without planning is the reason for every failure.”
The highest achievers are all persistent planners, continuously setting their goals, then analyzing and re-evaluating their plans on how to achieve those goals. The failure to plan carefully can be very expensive in terms of the time and money wasted on activities that don’t contribute towards your goals.

2. Focus on Important Tasks
It’s important to understand the distinction between urgent and important tasks. Important tasks contribute towards your goals, while urgent tasks simply impose a timeframe. Be wary of any task that is not important, regardless of urgency. Focus your time on important tasks first.

3. Apply the Law of Comparative Advantage to Your Work
In your work life, the Law of Comparative Advantage says that you should assign, delegate, outsource or have someone else do any job that can be done at an hourly rate less than you earn, or less than the rate you desire to earnYou cannot earn your desired rate per hour during the workday if you are getting your car washed, picking up your groceries, dropping off your dry cleaning, or surfing the net. No doubt there are other tasks on your plate that are not essential for you to personally perform.

4. Be Prepared to Cut Your Losses
When you make a decision, or a commitment of time, money or emotion, that is not successful, your ego often compels you to continue, resulting in throwing good time after bad. At this point you are now investing not only your valuable time and money but also your emotion. Learn to take control of your ego: walk away from your mistakes and use that time on something more valuable.

5. Just Say “No!”
Just because you are willing and capable to do something doesn’t mean that it aligns with your goals and should be a focus of your precious time. The greatest time saver of all is the word “No!”

“It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.” (George Horace Lorimer)

Janet Bonaguro is a Certified Business Coach with FocalPoint Coaching. She works with business owners and executives in order to influence positive change in business. For more information please visit her website.