Time Management Strategies

Time management strategies can help you trim the fat from your day - those pointless minutes you spend scrabbling for important items, lost online or caught up in meaningless chatter with someone when you should be getting stuff done.

Get rid of interruptions. If your door is open and people keep popping in, shut the door. If your phone keeps ringing, turn off the ringer and set up the voicemail. If you can’t stay off of online social networks, block those applications. Isolate yourself form distraction.

Have a place for everything - especially those little items. A bin by the door or on your desk for keys, wallet or handbag, cigarettes, lighter and cell phone will ensure you never lose them again! Same goes for your remote control, your favorite hat, the dog’s leash and your umbrella.

Break your bad habits. If you need six coffee or smoking breaks a day, take the opportunity to improve your health as well as your time management by cutting back to three. Shorten your lunch hour to get back to your tasks sooner.

Get rid of stuff you don’t need. Not every piece of paper that crosses your desk is a keeper. Organize all document, stashing those you don’t need. Open your mail over a wastepaper basket, junking unneeded items and filing bills and correspondence instantly. The same holds true for online files. Do a purge once a month, deleting or saving to a zip file anything not needed.

Estimate the time needed for each task. If you get caught up in research for a two hour assignment, you’ll be more aware of minutes ticking by and not spend 3 hours online digging.

Stop planning - start doing. Getting ready to do stuff doesn’t replace actually doing stuff. Make a game plan, sure, but don’t constantly revise and re-revise to-do lists ad infinitum. Use your time to actually accomplish something instead.

Don’t procrastinate. Putting off something till tomorrow just means you‘ll have to do it tomorrow! Do it today and free up time tomorrow for tomorrow’s tasks. You’ll actually get something done faster by doing it than by thinking about how you’ll do it tomorrow!

Set goals , then meet them. Once you get in the habit of goal setting , everything is easier. Don’t forget to reward yourself for each goal met - this adds motivation and encourages you to keep on achieving. It’s important to recognize when you do well!

Taking a break can keep you from burnout and information overload. Recognize when you’ve been sitting staring mouth agape into space for five minutes that maybe your brain needs some downtime. Do a little meditation or take a quick circuit around the block to rejuvenate yourself.

Everyone has different habits, and each tactic may have to be adapted to your own personal style. Trial and error will show you what works and what doesn’t as you try to manage your time more effectively. As long as you are moving in the right direction, what time management strategies you use don’t really matter!

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