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7 Steps to More Effective Time Management

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by Hayley Jones
(Rawlins, Wyoming, USA)

One of the most popular areas for self-improvement is time management. Have you ever noticed how efficiently you can manage time in a crisis, while “normal” days often end with you wondering where the time went and why nothing got done? Or why it’s the busiest person you know who always seems to have time to take on one more project?

Here are seven tips to help you improve your time management skills.

1. Managing time is a lot like managing money: – it’s all about the choices you make with what’s left after you do what you HAVE to do. If you “economize” on the essentials, you can spend more on the fun stuff. In terms of time, for example, if you have a half hour commute to work, that’s five hours a week. Brainstorm possible solutions: can you telecommute two or three days a week? Find work closer to home, or ahome closer to work?

2. Don’t stress over things you can’t change – some items on the calendar a carved in stone. Allow for that in your plan for the week. Don’t waste time fantasizing about all you could accomplish if you didn’t have to attend the weekly sales meeting.

3. Crisis management – if your rich uncle called to say there was a ticket to Hawaii waiting for you at the airport for a free two-week vacation, how long would it take you to pack and find someone to take care of the dog while you were gone? That’s the same principle that works in a crisis. With sufficient motivation, you can clear huge blocks of time.

4. Habits can be your best friend — or your worst enemy – putting your keys in the same place every day will save time spent looking for them. Every day you do dozens of tasks on “automatic pilot”. What can be added? What needs to be subtracted? How much time do you spend watching TV reruns just because it’s a habit?

5. Learn to prioritize – one office manager gave the boss a red file folder for tasks that required her to “drop everything and do this now.” The boss responded “but everything won’t fit in that one folder!” One of the most effective classic time management techniques is to list the top five or six priorities for the day and spend most of your effort on them, while still allowing a portion of time for routine crisis prevention.

6. Avoid getting sidetracked – if you’re looking for an important paper, don’t get sidetracked by interesting reading or other things needing action. Use a “to read later” and a set of “action” files (ASAP, this week, this month) and when you stumble across a paper that would sidetrack you, pop it into the appropriate folder and be sure to make time to deal with the folders.

7. Get organized – the supermom who can always find time to make a few plates of cookies for the church bake sale might just be doubling the batch she’s already making for the Scout meeting. Combining tasks and errands can save both time and gas money!

There you have it, by adopting these simple time management tips you will be well on the way to improving your time management skills & overall effectiveness!.

Updated: November 9, 2012 — 1:37 am

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