5 Rules That Will Free Up Your Time

Guest Post by Scott Friesen

When you’re a manager, your time is at a premium. Meetings, emails, reports and more meetings fill up most of your day. So how can you find extra time in an already jam-packed schedule?

Here are 5 rules that every manager can use to get more time out of their day.

1. Never check email first thing in the morning

Email tends to distract us from our biggest goals and most important work. It often fools us into thinking that new messages are more urgent that anything else on our to-do list. As a result, we spend too much time on unimportant communication.

Ignore your inbox for the first hour of your day so you can have more time for you and your team. Instead of diving into email, work on your most difficult task or important project first thing.

2. Have team stand-up meetings

A stand-up meeting consists of getting together with your entire team for 5-10 minutes each morning. Whether it’s in-person or a conference call, these short meetings can save huge amounts of time.

During the meeting each team member answers 3 questions:

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What will you do today?
  • What obstacles are in your way?

Receiving this report directly from your staff can prevent hours of miscommunication. It will significantly reduce the amount of email and follow-up communication needed later on. You can then continue your day knowing that you are up to speed with everyone on your team.

3. Always pack an energy bar

Eating a healthy meal is always a good use of your time. But as a manager, your day fills up pretty quickly. And that means it’s not always easy to find time for lunch or a nutritious snack.

As a back-up, make sure you always have an energy bar packed in your bag. While it won’t replace the calories of a full meal, it will give you the fuel to power through a jam-packed day.

4. End meetings five minutes early

Five minutes may not seem like a lot of time. But when you add up the number of meetings in a week, ending your meetings early can add up to big time savings.

Discipline yourself (and your team) to end meetings a few minutes early instead of going overtime. As a result, you can start your next meeting on time and even have a few minutes to check email in advance.

5. Choose your most important task the day before

Too much time is wasted thinking and planning about what we are going to do. But to save time and be at your effective best, you need to separate strategy from execution .

Take just 5 minutes at the end of your day and review your to-do list and calendar. Then decide what you will work on first thing tomorrow morning. When the next day arrives, you can jump right into your most important task and get it out of the way.


No matter the size of the team, time is at premium for every manager. But by making these small changes, you will be able to squeeze more precious time out of every day.


rsz_scott_headshot_squareScott Friesen isn’t too busy. He’s productive. There’s a difference. He helps organizations and individuals focus on their most important work instead of just being busy. See more of Scott’s productivity articles and video tips at

3 Responses

  1. I particularly like his first comment re emails. It’s too easy for people to flood you we email to grab your attention. Most of them are either some form of advertising or someone making their priority your priority. It’s kind like when the phone rings. Most of the time someone wants something of you.

    1. Thanks for the comment, John. I think you’re spot on that too often our incoming emails are full of others making ‘their priority your priority’. Instead, save that valuable time in the morning by letting your inbox sleep in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.