Sean on Time Management

Here are some Time Management Tips from the designer of this blog, Sean Copley from Timbuktoons. (Don’t miss my Podcast interview with Timbuktoon founder Todd Hampson) Sean is a great guy and I know from personal experience, well organized. In their recent newsletter Sean gave away some of this secrets…


There are not enough hours in each day so you know you will always have to procrastinate on something. The trick is to force yourself to choose to procrastinate on the small things in order to get things done.


  • Don’t clear up the small things first! Resist the temptation- we often underestimate how the small things add up and seemingly never end (especially e-mail)!
  • Choose to do the most valuable and important first. Place value on the items you need to accomplish each day. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of what you do is the least valuable, while 20% is the most valuable.
  • Do it tomorrow! Work on the e-mails and phone messages that came in yesterday and file today’s away for tomorrow. The benefit is that when your mailboxes are empty, you are done for the day regardless of what comes in! For example, I created a “Do Today” email box and a “Do Tomorrow” e-mail box and file e-mails accordingly. This helps limit expectations others have of you. It is way too easy to get in a trap of pleasing people immediately. The problem is that our own work piles up until we have to work many hard and late hours to catch up.
  • Learn to say “no.” Say no to the things that are not of high value to your goals. Look at your tasks as the following: Must, Should, Nice, Delegate, Eliminate.
  • Identify your constraints. One major cause of procrastination is a feeling of inadequacy and a lack of confidence. What is holding you back from achieving your purpose quickly and well done?


“Creative Organization” might seem like an oxymoron since the stereotypical creative type lives and works in a clutter of chaos (whether on desktop actual or desktop virtual) only coming up for the occasional snack of hummus. But the truth is organization for the creative can be quite freeing and well…creative!


  • Plan everyday in advance.  Whether the night before or right before you dive in- planning out your day and working from that list can help you work on your own time versus being reactive to whatever daily interruptions you endure. When things come up- add it to the list and practice your creative procrastination skills! Also it would be good to work from multiple lists (in Basecamp, HighRise or BackPack) such as: Master List, Monthly List, Weekly List and Daily List.
  • Create imaginary deadlines.  Deadlines are evil! Okay, maybe that is overreacting. But they are often used by creatives to procrastinate in a non-productive and non-creative way. How many times have you waited right up until a deadline is looming to finish something? Sure deadlines can motivate you like nothing else…but at what cost? They often cause unnecessary and self-created stress and mistakes. Try to think of work in this scenario often: “I just won a cruise to the Bahamas but I have to leave next week to claim it.” How would that change your pace and priorities?
  • Create a “Bucket List.”  No not the kind of list made popular by a recent movie! Have a habit of writing all of your commitments in “buckets” or categories and review your them often. It doesn’t matter what kind of bucket it is…computer, paper, audio, video…whatever works for you. Make it fun! Some buckets might be home, work, a specific big project, etc.

For more info on Timbuktoons and future helpful articles, be sure to subscribe to the Timbuktoons Newsetter!

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  1. Thank you so much for this. I have been in the hospital for a week and know there is a pile looming on my desk. These tips will help me pace myself as I get back into the swing of things.

  2. I am going to have to roll around the whole answer calls the next day thing. I can see how it would give you some extra time because you can even map out how many calls you have to return and all. That was new for me and must be digested.

    Thanks for posting this to think about.

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