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Time Management Tips: 10 Things You Can Do To Be Effective With Your Time

Jul 8, 2008
If you find yourself constantly frustrated at the end of the day, with a pile of things that need to be done and wondering why you weren't able to do it, you're not alone. Plenty of people suffer from an inability to make the maximum use of their time, but there is a solution! By implementing these simple time management tips in every area of your life, you'll be surprised at what you can accomplish - and how quickly things will get done - every day.

1) Know what you want - set goals.

Since you can't change time itself, you need to change how you work with time. This can be done by making small personal goals to start with, moving to larger goals as you progress in your time management skills. For example, set a goal to not check your personal email while at work for one week. At the end of the week, evaluate whether you achieved that goal and add another one or try again.

2) Do what you need to - create a plan.

This is a more overarching goal, but something that can be implemented as part of a plan for time management success. For example, your plan for trying these time management tips might be to increase your productivity or to lower your stress levels.

3) Learn about yourself - where are you losing time?

For a week, track what you do every day. Take note of your activities, how long they took, and even the breaks you take for a personal phone call or for lunch. After a week, look at the areas that took up your time, and evaluate where you wasted time that could have been given over to more productive activities.

4) Use the available tools - write it down.

Time management tools are an effective way to give concreteness to your goals and the tasks you need to accomplish. Whether it's through a daytimer or a computer program, physically manage your time by listing the tasks you need to do now and in the future.

5) Keep perspective - prioritize.

Each morning, look at the tasks you need to accomplish and prioritize them. Figure out which ones are urgent and which ones can honestly wait if you don't have time for them. Do the important things first - don't put them off, or you'll be stressed and rushed at the end of the day.

6) Keep moving - create a routine.

If you have an established routine, you'll be more able to complete your goals each day. When crises arise, move with them and deal with them - but don't let them distract you for the rest of the day. Once you've dealt with the problem, get back on task.

7) Don't dawdle - set time limits.

If you only need an hour to check your email, set a timer for an hour until you can get used to that amount of time. A day can be easily wasted on one thing if you let it, so this will ensure that you don't waste extra time surfing around that could be spent on other projects.

8) Ask for help - delegate.

You don't need to do it all yourself - no person is an island! Allow others to carry some of the burden for you, but be willing to help them along the way - that way your creative hand is still in the pot. You need to decide to delegate, and then just ask. What's the worst that could happen, someone would say no? It's not the end of the world.

9) Know yourself - don't waste time waiting.

Whether it's standing in line at the grocery store, waiting for a doctor's appointment, or even if you're sitting in a lobby waiting for a meeting, realize that you don't need to spend that time waiting. With a task list set out, bring something with you at all times that you can work on - a report to read, a notepad, your checkbook, or your PDA to check your email. Keep moving, keep working on those tasks. Don't let a moment go to waste.

10) Be realistic - don't get discouraged.

If you've set realistic goals and you've followed the tips outlined here, there may still be some days that you just can't get everything done. That's okay! There are only 24 hours in a day, and all you can do is work with them and manage yourself. Time doesn't change - you can, and that's really the best thing you can do. Realize that some days will be successes and others may be a little more disappointing. That's life - and tomorrow is a new day!
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