Raise your hand if your calendar looks something like this every day...

Get out of bed early. Check emails and get ready for the day. Create a list of what needs to be done today, and the next three. Calendar management so you don't go crazy. Move conflicts. Schedule meetings. Run a meeting. Order lunch. Sort through expenses. Help the team out with their events and projects. Manage the fitness program. Create new relationships. Maintain current relationships. Manage the onsite nutritionist and their schedule. Manage the two in-house trainers and their schedules. Come up with new ideas for mind and wellness sessions. Leave work. Train for a marathon. Get home. Eat, check more emails, and scroll through social media simultaneously. And finally, get into bed, and set your alarm to do it all over again tomorrow. 

See, I'm the Executive Assistant to HubSpot's Chief People Officer, Katie Burke. I run our Healthy@HubSpot program, manage both Katie's and my daily calendars, and file the expenses for much of our Culture team. I'm also a photographer, a social media influencer, and I'm currently training for the Boston Marathon. 

Maybe your calendar doesn't look exactly like mine. But, I'm sure you have just as much craziness woven into your every day life. The reality is, everyone has 24 hours in their day; we all have different kinds of busy lives with jobs, personal lives, side hustles, relationships, families, etc.

But, the most successful people are the ones that find a way to manage and prioritize their time wisely. The magic behind time management is prioritization - it's the key to staying afloat.

If you can't prioritize, you're going to miss deadlines, you're going to become highly unorganized, and you aren't going to know your left foot from your right. You'll quickly become stressed, and once that happens you'll lose touch with your mind and body. You'll workout less, you'll be too swamped to reach out to loved ones, and you'll learn that it all can spiral so fast.

I'm telling you this, because I've been there. I still make mistakes, or something slips my mind that I was supposed to do yesterday or last week. But it's how you bounce back from those mistakes that defines you and allows you to manage both your stress level and your time. So, here are some quick tips and tricks I like to use for time management.

8 Ways to Successfully Manage Your Time

  1. Keep Your Calendar in Check: As an executive assistant, I live and breathe in a digital calendar, both on my laptop and in my phone. But, what makes everything fall into place is having a physical calendar and notebook to add appointments and to take notes in. Writing something down, and then actually seeing it written there, ingrains those meetings and appointments into my brain, forcing me to stay organized. We're all so used to having our phones in our face, so seeing something tangible rather than digital helps me remember things that much more. Plus, I get the satisfaction of crossing things off, and moving onto the next item.
  2. Categorize Your Priorities: Is the priority you're dealing with a High, Medium or Low priority? By categorizing your priorities into levels, you can more easily recognize their importance. Once that high priority item gets tackled, move your medium priority to high and your low to medium. But, be conscious of how much you're adding to your list at one time. If your list is getting too long, it can become overwhelming and potentially unattainable.
  3. Get Out of Your Rut: If you're in a rut, get outside, go for a walk around the block, go make some tea. Or if you need a little bit of fast energy, breath through your nose fast and short three times, it gives you a rush of fresh air.
  4. Reward Your Wins: Give yourself small wins like, "I'm going to get through these 10 emails, and then I can give my friend a call or go outside for a second." I've learned that the smaller wins give me the greatest accomplishments week by week.
  5. Learn How to Say No:  And be confident in doing so. Only you know how much you can take on, and if you bite off more than you can chew, your time will quickly dwindle.
  6. Eliminate Distractions: But, not all together. Like I said earlier, earn these distractions -- that call with a friend, scrolling through social media for 10 minutes, or getting in a walk outside. Then, come back refreshed and focused.
  7. Take Care of Yourself: Get plenty of sleep, and try to get some exercise woven into your daily routine. If exercising isn't your forte, do something that is good for the body and soul such as meditating before bed or writing in a journal.
  8. Work Smarter, Not Harder: Think before you act -- it will go a long way with how efficient you are with your time and the project at hand. Set a plan of action for yourself rather than jumping right into the work and realizing 3 hours too late that there was a much more efficient way of tackling that challenge. Make sure that your efforts in whatever you're doing aren't wasted. This will leave you more room to do and accomplish other things.

Life is always going to throw you curve balls, and we all have a thousand things going on. Just remember there's usually an easier and more efficient way to prioritize your life to live a great one. Remember, work smarter, not harder.


Originally published Mar 26, 2018 10:00:00 AM, updated January 19 2023