Tony Robbins: Time Management Tips

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Awaken the Giant Within" by Tony Robbins. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is Tony Robbins’ time management advice? How can you use this advice to become more efficient and productive? 

According to Tony Robbins, time management is essential if you want to be more productive and efficient.  Learning how to manage your time can be difficult, but once you know how, you can gain control over your life and achieve your ambitions. 

Keep reading for Tony Robbins’ time management advice. 

Tony Robbins and Time Management

In this article, you’ll learn strategies to alter your perception of time to feel more positive about how you spend your time. You’ll also find Tony Robbins’ time management advice, including strategies to manage your time to be more efficient and effective.

Alter Your Perception of Time

If you’ve ever looked at the clock and thought, “It’s only 3:00?” or “It’s already 3:00?” then you know that time is relative. Depending upon what you’re doing and what your frame of mind is, time can seemingly pass quickly or drag on. For example, if you’re doing something that you need to do but don’t particularly want to do, it would normally feel that time is crawling and that the task is interminable. Tony Robbins’ time management advice can help you avoid that uncomfortable feeling and get the job done without causing yourself any additional pain. 

Here are two strategies for altering your perception of time:

Strategy #1: Change your time frame. When you feel stressed, it’s often because you feel stuck in one time frame—either the past, present, or future. If one time frame is weighing down on you, simply change your focus to a different time frame in order to improve your state. For example, if you’re in the middle of a huge task and feel overwhelmed, keep working but shift your thoughts to the future, when you’ll have finished everything. Alternatively, if you’re dreading something you have to do tomorrow, change your focus to the things you can proactively do in the present to make tomorrow’s task more manageable. 

Strategy #2: Distort your perception of time. Learn how to consciously make time feel like it’s going faster or slower. To make it seem faster, avoid frequently checking the time or thinking about time. To make time seemingly slow down, do the opposite. 

Manage Your Time

For Tony Robbins, time management is key to success. Here are two strategies for managing your time so that—even on the busiest days—you can always get the most important things done:

Strategy #1: Distinguish between urgency and importance. To take control of your life and use your limited time to accomplish the things that matter most, prioritize the important tasks, even if it means delaying some urgent ones. Important tasks are the ones that make the most meaningful impact on your life. For example, many of the exercises in this book are important tasks and, although they could easily be pushed off until tomorrow, making time for them today puts you one step closer to transforming your life.

By contrast, urgent tasks are things that are time sensitive, such as finishing a work project before the deadline and answering a ringing phone. People tend to feel pressured by the urgency of these tasks, so they spend much of their time prioritizing urgent matters and delaying important ones. However, this approach leaves them in a constant state of reacting to stimuli instead of strategically allocating their time. (Shortform note: Read our summary of Getting Things Done for a step-by-step approach to organizing your life and prioritizing important tasks over urgent ones.)

Strategy #2: Learn from other people’s experiences. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when you can save yourself time and energy by learning from other people’s life experiences. While this may not make a single moment feel any longer or shorter, it can save you years of trial and error and help you progress toward your goals more quickly. (Shortform example: Instead of learning the best practices for trading stocks through trial and error, save yourself some time—and money—by reading books or attending seminars by financial experts.)

Exercise: Take Control of Your Time

Tony Robbins’ time management advice also includes practical ways you can master your time. Start learning to master your time so that you can take control of your life:

  1. Practice changing time frames so that you’ll have mastered the skill when one time frame is stressing you out and you need to shift your focus to put yourself in a more empowered state. Throughout the day, practice switching your focus to a different time frame. Reminisce about special memories from the past. Direct all your attention toward the sensations you’re feeling in the present moment. Imagine your compelling future. 
  2. Practice distorting time by combining two activities to increase your motivation to do unpleasant tasks and improve your overall productivity. If you normally dread doing the dishes, put on your favorite podcast next time you have to do them and watch how the time flies. Alternatively, add an activity that’s more productive than purely enjoyable—for example, return business calls while you go for a walk. 
  3. Create a to-do list that ranks tasks by their importance, not their urgency. Rather than filling your list with every task you can think of, focus on only your most important and meaningful to-dos. The benefits will be twofold: You’ll be able to achieve most or all of the items by the end of the day, and you’ll feel more satisfied and accomplished because the things you’ve done have the biggest impact on your life.
Tony Robbins: Time Management Tips

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  • How to make transformational changes to your life through small adjustments
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  • Strategies to take control of your thoughts and emotions

Elizabeth Shaw

Elizabeth graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in English Literature. Growing up, she enjoyed reading fairy tales, Beatrix Potter stories, and The Wind in the Willows. As of today, her all-time favorite book is Wuthering Heights, with Jane Eyre as a close second. Elizabeth has branched out to non-fiction since graduating and particularly enjoys books relating to mindfulness, self-improvement, history, and philosophy.

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