First, shift focus off learning how to manage time. We manage ourselves, not time. Time management starts with personal growth and development: learning and developing new skills and implementing good habits that create productive work days with high quality time off. Does your approach support your success, or are you in a wind storm pushing through obstacles and handling circumstances where ever the wind blows you?

To create change, alter your habits. Simply by making small revisions you can begin to see greater, more productive results. Here are some traditional time tested tips along with some you may not have heard in the past.

A Productive Day Begins the Day Before

Take 15 Minutes to Map Out Your Day- Planning the day before allows you to wake up knowing what actions to take which leads to efficient days and more quality time off.

-- Put priorities first on your schedule.
-- Complete a to-do list. Attempt to eliminate half of it by letting go and delegating.
-- Determine a strategy to complete tough tasks (put them first or early in the day).
-- Optimize energy by booking time for exercise and regular 10 minute rejuvenation breaks.

Speaking of energy…

Be Intentional About Fueling Your Body

-- Plan actions based on natural energy peaks and valleys. Handle high energy tasks when energy is up and lower energy tasks when energy wanes.

-- Establish an ideal bedtime and wakeup time that supports a gratifying day. Studies have shown that early risers tend to be more proactive, better planners, get better sleep, exercise, and have more family time.* Work out a schedule that yields the best rest and gets you up early enough to make plenty of headway before noon.

-- Drink lots of water. Nourish your body with a healthy breakfast and high quality foods. Choose the fuel that supports you to be and do your best.

Tips to Be Proactive and Hold Focus

-- 20-30 minutes of Focus- If you get distracted easily block small manageable slots of time for intense focused action. Work diligently doing an excellent, high quality job. Pause- reflect- then refocus on the same project or move to the next.

-- Set Deadlines- Deadlines are boundaries to protect your time. When making a call, checking email, having lunch with someone, etc. decide how much time you will allow and stick to it.

-- Create a Completions Craving- Create a craving by acknowledging the feelings of achievement, the benefits of doing what you do, and the value of using time wisely as you complete tasks. What is unfinished always lies ahead but resist sitting with it. Recognizing your progress, accomplishments, and the benefits of your actions is energizing whereas just staying with the undone is draining. Your brain will help support productivity as you develop new thought patterns and feelings that motivate you to act.

-- Prevent Problems and Anticipate Needs- Being aware and acting (or not acting) in advance to prevent problems and anticipate needs is a huge time saver.

In the past as a restaurant owner we prepped everything between busy times. There is a nearby sandwich shop that has yet to learn this. They run out of important items and run to the back in the midst of rush hour for needed items.

In another example, sometimes not speaking and just listening and acknowledging can help you to better understand while avoiding a potential problem.

Lastly, packing in advance of a trip can reduce stress and still get you to the airport on time if you end up getting sick or having car trouble or another issue at the last minute. Life happens. When you anticipate the more time you have remaining for fun! Of course, do not over do it! Over-planning can be a time waster as well. Seek balance.

As you learn to manage your SELF and build new good habits for higher productivity, you will shift out of the wind storm and progress up the staircase to achievement.

Be Unlimited Action Challenge

Choose one change you will make to your schedule over the next 30 days to enhance productivity.

- Put the structure in place to support the new habit.
- Add a trigger to remind you to take the new action.
- Plan a strategy for what might throw you off.
- Believe in yourself!

Go ahead… get started. Be productive… StartingNow!

* Goudreau, Jenna. “The Secret to Being a Power Woman: Wake Up Early”. Forbes Woman. 16 Nov 2011. Forbes. 18 Sept 2013.

Author's Bio: 

Beth Tabak of is a Professional Life Coach and owner of Starting Now. She coaches big thinkers to build good habits, stand out in the crowd, be unlimited, and experience the vastness of their capabilities. Stop by to get more time saving information, tips to build good habits, free gifts, and additional value.