Whether you are a busy executive, a full time homemaker or work for yourself, managing your time effectively is key to you getting the most out of your life, short and long term. A few simple rules will make a huge difference; 1.Use your diary properly We all use a diary to plan events, but also note who will be there and your goal or purpose. Also record in it exactly what you want to achieve each month and each week, even each day. It will help you to be efficient and focused!
2.Is it important or urgent? Recognise and distinguish between what’s really important to your success and what might seem urgent, but should not take up more of your time than absolutely necessary. If it’s neither it can wait.
3.Avoid nasty suprises Planning saves time. Make sure you know well in advance what’s planned and what’s needed for it then it’s easier to make sure that everything is ready. Feel the stress disappear.
4.Keep lists short Nothing wrong with writing lists but don’t keep looking at an endless list, it’s just discouraging. Start each day with 3 tasks/outcomes or achievements in front of you. When they are achieved you feel great and can make another list of 3.
5.Make the most of your strengths. When do you think you are at your best? Are you groggy in a morning or clear? When do you generally get tired ? Work with this and allocate tasks accordingly. Routine easy stuff should be done when you are not up to much more.
6.Have a start and an end time. Give meetings and tasks a start and an end time. Otherwise time just drifts on. Psychologically we usually take as long as we’ve got to complete anything, plus a bit more.
7.Don’t get distracted Do one thing at a time - once distracted it takes our brains about 17 minutes to fully refocus.
8.Avoid Procrastination-make a start. When we don’t feel comfortable with a particular task we are all prone to procrastinate. If it’s a big job, break it down into manageable chunks. If it’s a new or difficult task, allocate an hour initially. If it’s something you would rather avoid, tackle it first to get it out of the way. Getting started is often the key!
9.Select technology wisely. Your data , records and reports can be completed and accessed quickly on line. However remember that sometimes a phone call can be much quicker than a meeting and much clearer than an e-mail .
10.Can some-one else do it quicker, better, cheaper? Some activities can be done better, cheaper, quicker by someone else? Off-load such work whenever practicable. Free yourself for the critical tasks that you do best.