How to Get Things Done: 13 Tips in 60 Seconds


Feeling overwhelmed and out of control – in spite of the 27 books you’ve read on time management? Join the club.

I suggest to you that time management isn’t really about managing time at all.

Here’s my question for you:  “What’s the smallest unit of time?”

A decision is the smallest unit of time.

Can you really manage something that is beyond your control?  Time keeps moving – with or without your involvement.  You can’t manage that.

What you can manage are the decisions you face on how to use that time.  So time management is really decision management – and that’s where most of us run into trouble.

13 Quick Tips to Get Things Done

Here are 13 quick “decision management” actions you can take to get out of overwhelm and back on track:

  1. As you consider beginning a task, ask yourself, “Will completing this task bring me closer to my big, bottom line goal?”  This is your Decision Point.
  2. Start the day in Action, not email or social media.  Get things done for 45-90 minutes.
  3. Understand your energy cycles – Are you a Morning Bird or a Night Owl, a Sprinter or more of a Marathon Runner?
  4. Do the hardest things when your energy is highest.
  5. Work in time blocks – set a time for 20 minutes.  Stop when the timer rings.
  6. Get over the “Everything is Equally Important” syndrome.  Not everything is an A1 (Stephen Covey).
  7. Have a Strategic Plan to work against.  It doesn’t need to be a thirty-page wonder.  One page of clear goals and Action Steps will get it done.
  8. Pick 3 mission-critical tasks for the day that bring you closer to your big goals.
  9. You have deliverables, the short-term requirements for the day.  Plan these the night before.
  10. You also need longer range, strategic activities to move you toward major goals.  Are you getting enough of each?
  11. Know what is critical vs. what is nice vs. filling time
  12. Take movement breaks every hour or so.  Your brain needs the oxygen movement generates.
  13. Drink lots of water and eat protein and fiber instead of sugar and carbs, which steal your energy and your creativity.

Take Action – Make This Your Own

  • Choose one action step from the list above to implement this week.
  • Leave a comment on how it worked for you.  What differences did you see in your day and week?

You can also check out our related post:

Bounce Back Fast – 11 Tools in 60 Seconds

Share a comment – what favorite decision management (time management) tips work for you?


  1. Joanne says

    I attended an ICF teleconference when Pat Schuler presented last year and we exchanged emails following the event. Very inspiring message and simple but “a-ha!” tips. Revisited this blog today and recommitting to practicing recommendations more closely. Thanks, Pat!

    • Pat Schuler says

      Joanne, thanks for the kind words! Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective. 🙂

      I’m speaking at the Career Directors International Summit in Orlando this October. The Topic is “Discovery vs. Solution”. It’s about how so many of us solve the client’s problem in our free “Get Acquainted” conversation, that the prospect feels like they no longer need us. How do we show the prospect compellingly that we can solve the problem – without giving away the store? I’m very excited about this session since so many consultants and coaches leave a lot of money on the table.

      It would be great to see you there!

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