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Whether you need a daily, weekly or monthly list depends on your lifestyle. Just be careful not to allow the list-making to get out of control and do not keep multiple lists at the same time. Rank the items on your "to do" list in order of priority both important and urgent. You may choose to group items in categories such as high, medium and low, number them in order, or use a color coding system. Keep in mind that your goal is not to mark off the most items; rather you want to mark off the highest priority items MacKenzie, Having a prioritized "to do" list allows you to say "no" to activities that may be interesting or provide a sense of achievement but do not fit your basic priorities.
Time management experts recommend using a personal planning tool to improve your productivity. Examples of personal planning tools include electronic planners, pocket diaries, calendars, computer programs, wall charts, index cards and notebooks. Writing down your tasks, schedules, and memory joggers can free your mind to focus on your priorities. Auditory learners may prefer to dictate their thoughts instead.
The key is to find one planning tool that works for you and use that tool consistently.
27 Time Management Tips To Work Less and Play More
Some reminders when using a planning tool are:. Capabilities of PDAs vary by the model and some users include WiFi or cellular technology on their handheld device. Some suggestions for using your PDA to its capacity are:. Most people find that disorganization results in poor time management. Professional organizers recommend that you first get rid of the clutter. A frequently used method is to set up three boxes or corners of a room labeled "Keep" — "Give Away" — "Toss.
Immediately discard items in your "Toss" box. Your "Give Away" box may include items you want to sell, delegate, or discontinue so find a method to eliminate these items such as a yard sale, charitable donation, or gifts to friends or family members outside your home. With the clutter gone, the next step is to implement a system that allows you to handle information e.
Basically you have 5 options for handling information:. Block out time for your high priority activities first and protect that time from interruptions.
Even the busiest people find time for what they want to do and feel is important. Scheduling is not just recording what you have to do e. Good scheduling requires that you know yourself. Using your time log, you should have determined those times during the day when you are most productive and alert. Plan your most challenging tasks for when you have the most energy. If you know you will have waiting time or commuting time, schedule small tasks such as writing a letter, jotting down a shopping list, reading or listening to educational audiotapes to capitalize on the time loss Lakein, Delegation begins by identifying tasks that others can do and selecting the appropriate person s to do them.
Delegation means assigning responsibility for a task to someone else, freeing up some of your time for tasks that require your expertise. Delegation begins by identifying tasks that others can do and then selecting the appropriate person s to do them. You need to select someone with the appropriate skills, experience, interest, and authority needed to accomplish the task.
2. Set Priorities
Remember, the focus of time management is actually changing your behaviors, not changing time. A good place to start is by eliminating your personal time-wasters. For one week, for example, set a goal that you're not going to take personal phone calls or respond to non-work related text messages while you're working. Think of this as an extension of the third time management tip. The objective is to change your behaviors over time to achieve whatever general goal you've set for yourself, such as increasing your productivity or decreasing your stress.
So you need to not only set your specific goals but track them over time to see whether or not you're accomplishing them. A software program such as Outlook, for instance, lets you schedule events easily and can be set to remind you of events in advance, making your time management easier. You should start each day with a session prioritizing the tasks for that day and setting your performance benchmark. If you have 20 tasks for a given day, how many of them do you truly need to accomplish? Delegation is one of the hardest things to learn how to do for many business owners, but no matter how small your business is, there's no need for you to be a one-person show — you need to let other people carry some of the load.
While crises will arise, you'll be much more productive if you can follow routines most of the time. For most people, creating and following a routine lets them get right down to the tasks of the day rather than frittering away time getting started. For instance, reading and answering email can consume your whole day if you let it. Instead, set a limit of one hour a day for this task and stick to it. The easiest way to do this is to assign a solid block of time to this task rather than answering email on demand.
Are you wasting a lot of time looking for files on your computer? Take the time to organize a file management system.
15 Most Effective and Proven Time Management Techniques
Is your filing system slowing you down? Does this sound familiar to you? There are few activities so frustrating as spending your valuable time looking for misplaced materials because no thought was given to a filing and retrieval system. The best and simplest of all filing systems is an alphabetical system. In conjunction with a filing system, you should have a master list or record of all your files in a single place. This master list gives you the title of each file and tells you where the file is located.
SMART goals are another great way to stay organized and hold yourself accountable for staying on track.
Your internal prime time is the time of day, according to your body clock, when you are the most alert and productive. For most people, this is in the morning. For some people, however, it is in the evening. Occasionally, a writer, an artist, or an entertainer may find that her prime time is in the early hours of the morning.
Listening to your body and identifying your own prime time is essential to achieving all of your goals.
If one of your goals is to learn how to write a book , part of your prime time should be dedicated to planning, writing, editing, and marketing your book. It is important that you be aware of your internal prime time so that you can schedule your most important projects accordingly to increase productivity.
1. Set goals
Your most important work usually requires that you be at your very best, rested, alert, and creative. What time of the day do you most feel this way? You must also be aware of external prime time. This is the time when your customers or clients are most readily available.
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