Time Management In 20 Minutes A Day by Holly Reisem Hanna

Personal DevelopmentProductivity

What’s this book about? Quick Summary

This book teaches you how to manage your time effectively using simple yet proven techniques. By implementing the strategies discussed in this book, you can achieve both your short-term and long-term goals quickly. It’s written with the modern era in mind, where digital distractions are prevalent and can be a significant problem, even for adults.

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About the author

Holly Reisem Hanna is the founder of The Work at Home Woman, a website that helps women find remote work and build successful businesses from home. She is a nationally recognized speaker, career strategist, and an expert in the work-at-home world.

Her work has been featured in numerous online and print publications, including Entrepreneur, Forbes, and The Huffington Post.

In this book, she shares her insights and tips on time management to help readers make the most of their time and achieve their goals.

Time Management In 20 Minutes A Day

Time management is the need of the hour.

It’s super hard to manage our time these days because there is just so much on our plates, right?

But not anymore!

In this article, I’ll share the best lessons from this book that will help you manage your time and fight off all sorts of distractions that are holding you back.

Alrighty, so without wasting any time, let’s dive in.

Lesson #1: Don’t check your emails first thing in the morning.

Lot of us check our emails first thing in the morning as soon as we turn of our alarms.

Most of us don’t use physical clocks these days.

So before we even realize we start checking our emails to see all the new updates we have got.

A nice way to give ourselves some dopamine boost.

But this habit is not good.

Because those emails demand attention.

And it can drain your energy to filter through all those emails, to read them, and reply to all of them.

Plus, the very first few hours of the morning should not be others.

It’s better we spend the very first few hours on the morning working on ourselves, doings some kind of exercise or meditation, right?

Those emails can wait.

Anway, that urgency we feel to check those emails is real.

And that’s we must learn how to manage and organize them.

Here are a few things you can do to make your life easier:

  • Turn off unwanted emails and notifications. This one is so simple, but lot us often forget to do this. And before we realize our inbox is filled with all kinds of emails from different senders. And most of the emails we receive are promotional (strangers selling us things) about which nobody cares honestly. Unsubscribe them if you are not interested.
  • Create simple templated replies. It’s better to have some ready-made replies. You don’t need to write all of them again and again. Yes, they don’t work all the time. But they are nice to have.
  • Have more than one email. It’s better not to use the same email for all purposes. Have a separate email for office, have a separate email for subscribing to newsletters, have a different email for visiting unknown sites, etc. Just don’t over do this and create 100 different emails unless want to lose your sanity. Keep it simple.
  • Create folders in your inbox to organize. These days all email providers like Gmail allow you to create folders. Folder help you organize your emails. They help a lot in organization because you can only create so many emails.

Lesson #2: Having a big picture in mind never hurts.

Lot of people struggle to stay focused.

And most of them have thing in common: they don’t have a bigger purpose in life.

Well, they might say they do, but all they have is a big vague goal that they don’t know how to achieve using practical implementation.

As a result, they easily get distracted.

They don’t know how to reach where they want to reach.

They lack a step-by-step action plan to pursue their goals.

This doesn’t mean that you must have to all things figured out from start to the end.

But at least you should have some idea about what actions you are going to take to get to where you want to reach in life.

So do one thing today.

Create a big picture in your mind.

Picture what your best version will look like.

Think about what actions you need to take, what skills you need to learn, and how much time practically you need to achieve your big goal.

And don’t forget your core values during this process. They are super important.

You wouldn’t want yourself compromising on them and regret later in life.

Simply, create a list of actions you need to take every day.

Then simply do the work that needs to be done.

When you know what you have to do, when there is clarity in your actions, it’s hard to get distracted.

Yeah, this might sound strange. Because it’s so easy to get distracted these days.

For a moment, just imagine. Imagine you are in desert and you’re super thirsty. You haven’t had water since last 2 days. Clearly, you need water.

Now, be honest, would you get distracted by your email notification when there is only thing on you mind — water?

All distractions happen because we have time to allow them. We get distracted when we become too comfortable.

Only people who don’t have big goals in life become comfortable early on in their lives.

Kindly note that this doesn’t mean that focused people don’t get distracted ever and never take any breaks.

Even they get distracted sometimes, they are only human. Yes, they do take breaks and sometimes go on vacations.

However, they quickly regain their focus after they get distracted without giving silly excuses and get back to working on their mission.

You can only do this when your “big picture” is clear.

Best Tools for Bibliophiles

Lesson #3: Create a list of things that are truly important to you and distinguish them from things that only seem important but are not.

Lot of us are guilty of wasting far more time on things that are not important.

For example: Worrying about how many likes you have got on your recent Instagram post is not the best use of your time unless you are doing some kind of business there.

Or worrying about what your favorite celebrity is doing is also a waste of time, because they don’t care about you and they don’t even know you. They are the celebrity, not you.

You could very well spend that same time learning new and interesting things.

But ever thought why all that happens —why do we forget what’s important?

Despite having To-Do Lists, many people struggle to focus on things that are truly important in life.

Also, there is a decision fatigue.

When there are so many things to do and decide, it’s just impossible to not get exhausted.

So what’s the solution?

The author suggests that you automate and delegate things that are urgent and not so important.

There are things like laundry, shopping, credit card payments, etc. which are to be done, but they are not that important in the long term. You just have to deal with them, right?

These things don’t define your purpose. These are just chores you have to do.

So by delegating or automating them, you can save some time.

And spend it on things that are truly important in the long term.

Remember, some things are disguised as important, but they don’t really matter.

So you have to learn how to differentiate between these two.

Try breaking your goals into short-term and long-term goals so that your list doesn’t become messy.

Staying organized is very important here.

Lesson #4: Cut the clutter as much as possible and organize whatever is left.

Organization is only possible if you know how to declutter stuff from your life.

Keep in mind that anything you buy or keep around yourself, it’s going to demand attention or time.

Adopt a minimalistic approach.

Don’t collect stuff just because it makes you feel good.

Look at your home and think about how many things you are actually using.

We all have things that we bought out of impulsion, but as it was not needed, it’s just sitting in your home doing nothing.

Throw away any products you don’t use or give them to someone who might use them.

Go to your wardrobe, critically think how many clothes you don’t wear anymore.

Only keep those things that you use or might use.

But you have to be honest here.

Lot of us build attachment with our stuff and the clutter keeps on piling up.

Think about all the subscriptions you are having.

Do you really need all of them? Is there a way to minimize them?

Think about all the files in your computer’s storage system. Have you downloaded lots of unwanted files?

If no, then keep them. Otherwise, there is no point in keeping things you don’t need.

You can declutter your surroundings regardless of where you are, whether at home or in the office. Minimalism can be helpful anywhere.

By decluttering your environment, you can declutter your mind. This can further make your life easier.

If you are someone who works from home, then these things are even more important for you. It’s easy to get distracted if you are not organized.

Lesson #5: Learn how to manage meetings.

Knowing how to organize meetings is important if you work remotely.

For example, before you start the meeting, know what’s the agenda.

Think about who is going to be present in the meeting.

Don’t forget to check all the technical preparations. For example, check if your mic and camera are working properly or not.

Finally, you should also learn how to deal with annoying people during the meeting.

The author suggests that you learn to say no and be polite with people who cut you off in the middle and interfere whenever you speak.

At the end of the meeting, there should a conclusion.

Also, it should be clear how long the metting will run.

If there is no time-limit, it’ll be harder for everybody to focus on the agenda.

Lesson #6: Learn how to focus and handle all kinds of digital distractions.

Without focus, no amount of time-management will help you.

The author shares a few simple techniques you can use to stay focused.

a) Do the most creative things when your focus is maximum

Do the demanding things first.

Isn’t it common sense to finish those things first that you already know will be demanding?

We usually don’t have same amount of focus throughout the day.

So try to find out a time or situation when your focus is maximum.

You can check the undemanding things later if they are not very urgent.

Prioritize in such a way that most demanding things get completed first.

b) Learn to deal with boredom

Boredom and focus are related.

When you are bored, you are looking for an escape from your work.

You want something captivating to light that fire within you that time, right?

It’s difficult to focus when you are feeling great boredom.

Most people tend to turn on their TV or start scrolling through their social media feed to kill that boredom.

But that’s the time when you have to pay focus.

If you can learn how to deal with boredom and bring yourself back to work, you can save a lot of time.

Because boredom is the time when we tend to waste a lot of time by doing unproductive things that give us quick gratification.

c) Resist your urge to get distracted

The author says that you should resist that urge to get quick dopamine boost.

Try doing another thing from your To-Do List if you get bored.

This will help you stay productive.

Yes, resisting that urge to seek gratification can be challenging. Because these days we have very low attention spans.

This will take some practice.

d) Set a reward for yourself

This is one way to trick your brain.

Reward yourself everytime you resist that urge to seek instant gratification.

This will ensure you repeat the same productive behavior next time.

Distractions are just too many these days. So expect a lot of failures.

Keep experimenting different techniques and then ultimately stick to whatever works for you.

10 Actionable Takeaways from this Book

Don’t Check Your Emails First Thing in the Morning

  • Prioritize your morning for personal activities like exercise or meditation.
  • Emails can wait and should not dictate the start of your day.

Turn Off Unwanted Emails and Notifications

  • Unsubscribe from promotional emails you don’t care about.
  • Keep your inbox focused on essential communications.

Have More Than One Email

  • Use separate emails for different purposes: work, newsletters, personal, etc.
  • Avoid overdoing it; keep the number of email accounts manageable.

Create Folders in Your Inbox to Organize

  • Use folders to categorize and manage your emails.
  • Keep your inbox tidy and easy to navigate.

Create a Big Picture in Your Mind

  • Visualize your best version and long-term goals.
  • Identify necessary actions, skills, and timeframes.

Picture What Your Best Version Will Look Like

  • Clarify your goals and the steps needed to achieve them.
  • Align your daily actions with your long-term vision.

Cut the Clutter as Much as Possible and Organize Whatever Is Left

  • Adopt a minimalistic approach to your possessions.
  • Declutter your environment to enhance focus and productivity.

Learn How to Manage Meetings

  • Define the agenda and check technical setups before the meeting.
  • Conclude meetings with clear outcomes and time limits to maintain focus.

Learn How to Focus and Reward Productive Behavior

  • Tackle the most demanding tasks when your focus is at its peak.
  • Deal with boredom without resorting to distractions.
  • Resist the urge for quick gratification and reward yourself for staying focused.

Time Management in 20 Minutes a Day Book Review

Overall, this is a great book if you want to learn basic time-management.


  • The book is very practical. Implementation is provided at the end of each chapter thus making all the ideas easy to implement in daily life.
  • Very concise.


  • The book focuses on techniques a lot. Every person is different, so not all techniques will work for everyone.

Overall Rating


Who is it for?

  • The book is for professionals who struggle to manage time while working from home.
  • CEOs or corporate professionals who want to manage their meetings productively.
  • Anybody who wants to be productive.

Buy the book

You can buy the book in your preferable format below.

Get the Audiobook: Listen free with Audible Trial

Get the Paperback version: View price on Amazon

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Shami Manohar

The Brain Behind Wizbuskout.com

I am Shami Manohar, the founder of WizBuskOut. My obsession with non-fiction books has fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on topics such as business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more.

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