Time Management: Four Letters That Can Help

BY Jessica Helinski
Featured image for “Time Management: Four Letters That Can Help”

Time management has always been important. But now, post-​COVID-​19, it’s even more vital, as many teams continue to work remotely or have switched to a hybrid model. Likely, most reps have at least attempted a time management system during their career. But often, these attempts fail. “Most time management systems are too complex,” writes Mike Schultz, president of Rain Group.

In a blog post, Schultz outlines a far simpler system, and it might be the one that works for you. It involves the acronym TIME, making it easy to remember. He breaks down TIME, explain each of the four “levels,” then he shares ways to nurture each.

Time management: What is it?

First, Schultz makes sure reps understand what he means when he refers to time management, defining it as:

The process of planning and being deliberate in how you spend your time.”

Next, he shares the acronym TIME:

  • Treasured
  • Investment
  • Mandatory
  • Empty

Each letter represents a level of our time. “Everything you do, every minute of every day is spent in one of these four levels of time,” Schultz explains. With the right mindset and tools, you can completely redefine how you spend your time, and manage it more effectively.” By understanding these levels, time management becomes much easier.


Here is a condensed snapshot of each level (for a more detailed description, check out Schultz’s post):

  • Treasured – This is time that you genuinely hold dear. It includes time spent with family, hobbies, work, volunteering,etc.
  • Investment – Investment time is, Schultz explains, “the time you focus on becoming more effective, getting the right things done, and achieving top performance.”
  • Mandatory – During mandatory time, you do things you must do (even if you don’t want to), like filing paperwork or even paying bills.
  • Empty – This is time that is spent doing nothing without anything gained. Empty time accounts for a substantial portion of your day even if you think it doesn’t. Schultz notes that it is important though: “We all need some empty time. Just doing nothing or being mindless is important for recharging. We all need brain rest.”

Tips for TIME management

The first tip is to take control of your TIME. Schultz shares a quick and easy equation to keep in mind: Take T, Increase I, Minimize M, Eliminate E. So much of salespeople’s time is spent on things that just aren’t necessary. Citing their own research, Schultz writes, “Our productivity research shows most people spend an average 4.3 hours per workday on Empty (wasted) and Mandatory (could be delegated or simply not done) activities.”

To stop this, be thoughtful about how you spend your moments. Now that you are aware of these levels, it’s time to be thoughtful about your actions. Effective time management must begin with identifying how you actually devote your time (not just what’s written in on your calendar). In order to manage your time, you must first understand how you spend it.

Also, realize switching up your E times will take time and effort. “If you’re like most people, changing your Mandatory and Empty time habits will be hard,” he writes. “Delegating, eliminating, or minimizing your Mandatory and Empty time means changing habits.”

Recognizing and then actively adjusting how you spend your time will get you started on the path to better time management. To read the rest of the tips, read Schultz’s entire post. With his advice, you’ll be able to boost productivity, achieve your goals, and feel better doing it!