Maximising Productivity: How to Regain Control of Your Time


In today’s fast-paced professional world, it often feels like there’s never enough time in a day to accomplish everything on our to-do lists. We’ve all attended courses and seminars on time management, and many of us have tried the urgent and important template. But why is it that our tasks always seem to end up in the “urgent and important” box? The answer lies in the sheer volume of work we face compared to the limited time we have. In this article, we’ll delve into two major time-drainers in the corporate world: emails and meetings, and we’ll explore strategies to regain control of your time and boost productivity.

Emails: The Silent Time Thief

Emails, while essential for communication, often steal more time than we realise. Your email inbox can quickly become someone else’s to-do list, overflowing with tasks that may not align with your priorities. Those quick, “It’ll only take 2 seconds to reply” moments rarely hold true, and the cumulative time spent on email can be staggering. Here are three strategies used by world-class prioritisers to reclaim their time:

  • Turn Off Email Alerts: Disable email notifications to prevent others from dictating your priorities. By controlling when you check your inbox, you take back the reins of your time.
  • Scheduled Email Checks: Limit email checking to three specific times a day, focusing on addressing anything urgent. This prevents constant interruptions and allows you to concentrate on your important tasks.
  • Use the Phone Sparingly: Instead of engaging in lengthy email exchanges, pick up the phone for quicker, more efficient communication. If you receive too many emails, consider that you might also be sending too many. Reducing email traffic can free up substantial time.

Meetings: Are They Worth Your Time?

Meetings can consume a significant portion of your workweek, leaving little room for actual work. In some cases, these meetings lack clear agendas and objectives, making them unproductive time sinks. To regain control of your priorities, consider these strategies:

  • The 7-Person Rule: If a meeting involves more than seven people, it often devolves into a committee with excessive talking and minimal decision-making. In such cases, leave the meeting and invest that time in tackling your to-do list.
  • The 50% Solution: This risk-free strategy involves halving the time you allocate to meetings or calls. For instance, if you’re invited to an hour-long meeting, offer to participate for 30 minutes and aim to conclude it in 15. This approach can significantly reduce the time spent in unproductive meetings.


In a world where time is a precious resource, regaining control of your schedule is crucial for personal and professional growth. While it may seem challenging to implement these strategies in your daily routine, the benefits are substantial. By reining in your email habits and taking a more calculated approach to meetings, you can unlock hours of previously wasted time. Remember, change requires effort, but the rewards in terms of increased productivity and a better work-life balance are well worth it. So, are you ready to take back control of your time and achieve more? The choice is yours.

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