Beginner’s Guide to a Highly-Effective Time Management Strategy that Takes Only 1% Of Your Time
Time is a finite resource. One thing that Elon Musk, Lady Gaga and you have in common? You all get only 24 hours every day. Even top athletes or entrepreneurs with billion-dollar empires can’t create more time, so what makes them stand out?
They manage their time instead of letting life happen to them.
They do this in two ways:
they create repeatable systems that increase their productivity, so they can get more done in less time
they define their long-term goals and align their daily plans accordingly, so they spend more time on high-value tasks.
A daily routine is a key component of this. It allows you to think, write, and strategize so you can spend the remainder of your time focusing on the tasks and activities that matter most.
The 7 Minute Life morning and evening routines are designed to leverage merely 1% of the 1440 minutes of your day, because we believe in time management you have time for.
Dive in to discover how you can leverage seven minutes in the morning to create an effective plan of action and seven minutes in the evening to reflect, recalibrate, and prepare for the next day.
One of the most important elements of a successful morning routine is to create an effective daily plan. If you don’t do this before your workday starts, you will likely be pushed and pulled into ten different directions by noon!
An effective morning routine has three important steps:
create an effective to-do list
identify the most important tasks
plan your day with a detailed schedule
Start your 7 Minute Life morning routine by arriving at your desk or home office a few minutes earlier than usual. Set a timer for seven minutes and use this time to think, strategize, and create a written plan of action.
Don’t overthink what daily planner to use – any planner is better than no plan at all! You can use the 7 Minute Life Daily Planner, or download our free, printable Daily Progress Report, or go back to the basics with just pen and paper.
30 SECONDS: START WITH AWARENESS
The 7 Minute Life Morning Routine starts with the simple realization that today is not “yet another day”. By taking 30 seconds to pause and take inventory of your physical, emotional, and mental state, you start the day with meaning and mindfulness.
2 MINUTES: CREATE AN EFFECTIVE TO-DO LIST
Do you know there’s a difference between a “don’t-forget-to-do list” and an effective to-do list?
An effective to-do list filters out any tasks that can be delegated, automated, or removed. It adds tasks that help you build better habits or reach your goals. You may have overlooked those initially because of their lack of “urgency alarm bells”! And lastly, an effective to-do list estimates how much time each task will take.
Bonus tip: Any task that takes more than 30 minutes to complete is considered a project and does not belong on an effective to-do list. You can read more about how to create an effective to-do list here.
In your morning routine, spend 1 minute writing down all tasks you can think of and 30 seconds filtering out tasks that don’t belong on the list.
2 MINUTES: PRIORITIZE THE HIGH-VALUE TASKS
After filtering out tasks that shouldn’t be on your to-do list and adding high-value activities that help you reach your goals, it’s time to place them in order of priority.
Go through the list and divide the tasks into these categories:
Urgent and High-Value
Low-Value tasks that can’t be removed, delegated, or automated
In your morning routine, spend 2 minutes going through this prioritization process until all tasks are placed in order of importance.
Early on in your time management journey, there’s a high likelihood you’ll only be able to complete the tasks in the first two categories. That’s okay! As you learn more productivity hacks and create repeatable systems that save time, you’ll be able to get more done every day. You’re first learning to plan your day to focus on the most important tasks.
2.5 MINUTES: PLAN YOUR DAY
Now that you have an effective to-do list in order of priority, the next step is to plan your day. Spend 2.5 minutes filling out your schedule and putting your tasks in your daily plan.
Take your calendar and add the meetings, events, and other activities you have scheduled for today. Then, divide the remaining hours into 15-minute increments and place the tasks from your to-do list into those timeslots. Remember to put them in order of priority, starting with the most important and urgent tasks first.
TIME MANAGEMENT YOU HAVE TIME FOR
Creating a written plan of action takes practice, but if you stick to this proven time management strategy, you can complete this process in merely 7 minutes!
Want to learn more about the daily plan of action and the morning routine? We have a free 30-minute class that includes a downloadable template of the Daily Progress Report.
Get it in your inbox within minutes, for free!
The Evening Routine
What does the end of your day usually look like? Do you slam the breaks or do you have a process that intentionally transitions your day from busy to unwinding?
Many professionals struggle with insomnia, lingering stress, or a general inability to truly relax after the workday ended. This could be caused by the lack of an evening routine.
An effective evening routine wraps up the day, creates time for reflection, clears up any clutter, and prepares for the day ahead.
Ending your day intentionally and consistently makes a huge difference! Try it out tonight and set your timer for seven minutes to start your Evening Routine.
2.5 MINUTES: REVIEW AND REFLECT WITH GRATITUDE
Spend the first minute checking off all tasks you completed today and writing down any unfinished tasks. This list will be the starting point for tomorrow’s to-do list.
Then, spend one minute reflecting on your day. Briefly journal about any obstacles you’ve faced today or any lessons you’ve learned. What worked? What didn’t?
A journaling habit can take less than a minute a day if you use a bullet-pointed list. When you record and remember what past days have taught you, you avoid the need to constantly reinvent the wheel.
Take the final 30 seconds to list as many specific things you are grateful for today, including any accomplishments (big or small!) you can celebrate.
3.5 MINUTES: CLEAR UP ANY (MENTAL) CLUTTER
Even the best cup of morning joe is no match to a cluttered workspace. Taking a few minutes now to clear up clutter can significantly improve your mood tomorrow.
Organize your workspace by filing or throwing away any paper you’ve accumulated
Cleaning any mugs or dishes
Charging your devices
Wiping your desk if necessary
Next up… mental clutter. Your brain is wired to continually think about any unfinished projects. The only way to “hack” this is to write it down, as your brain doesn’t see a difference between a completed task or one that’s written down!
You’ve already identified the unfinished tasks from your daily planner, but you’re likely thinking about more than only those.
Add to your “Tomorrow List”…
… any important messages, phone calls,or emails you have yet to respond to.
… any unanswered or unresolved problems
… any ideas you’re brainstorming about.
For the last two categories, include a brief description using keywords or key phrases. This will enable your mind to pick up where you left off.
1 MINUTE: PREPARE FOR TOMORROW
Take a look at your schedule for tomorrow to identify any events that require special preparation. If applicable, compare your work calendar with your personal or family calendar to ensure there are no accidental double-bookings. Schedule a lunch break and a time to exercise, because you’re less likely to do this tomorrow morning when you’re feeling the pressure of your to-do list.
After these seven intentional minutes, you can now close the door behind you, knowing that your tasks and thoughts are recorded and taken care of. They’ll be there when you return, so you can let go and unwind for the rest of the night.
The foundational philosophy of The 7 Minute Life is to take seven minutes every morning and evening to think, clarify, plan, prioritize, and choose how you will spend the remaining 99% of your time. It only takes one percent of the 1440 minutes of your day to create your Daily Plan of Action in the morning and intentionally wrap up your day in the evening.
Implement these powerful routines so you can focus on the high-value activities that make you reach your goals and create a life of meaning.
Join the 7 Minute Life Membership
Get the time management training, tools, and technology you need to achieve your goals:
• Access a personalized Interactive Dashboard that guides you through and morning and evening routines (and many other activities)
• Learn foundational life planning and time management strategies with the 7-Step Bootcamp (includes weekly challenges to keep you on track!)
• Take advanced classes and attend live webinars to learn productivity techniques, repeatable revenue-generating systems, and neuroscience insights.
Become a 7 Minute Life Member today.