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My Top Ten Time Mananagement Tips

Posted on the 19 July 2011 by Classycareergirl @classycareer

It can be overwhelming to juggle all of the details of your personal and work life.   I could probably work 24/7 and still not get everything done.  But instead of staying in the office, I have been searching for ways to make the time I do spend at work really count because I don't want to be worrying about work on the weekend or in the evening.  Sound familiar?  
I use to work for a woman who would not do any work during the day and then complain about how she had to work all weekend.  Don't do this.
My Top Ten Time Mananagement Tips Heard of the Pareto Principle? 80% of the things you do account for only 20% of the results.  Conversely, 20% of the things you do account for 80% of your results.  Did you also know that balanced individuals have only 10% as many serious illnesses as those who are not balanced?  How's that for a little motivation to get our organized!
Here are my top 10 ways to manage your time:

  1. Plan ahead. Eisenhower said "Plans are nothing.  Planning is everything."  Take a few minutes every day to plan out what you are going to do and set goals.  Try to focus on three really important things that you want to get done each day and then do them!  Focus on the 20% of the things that will account for 80% of your results.  At the end of each workday, I create my to do list for the next day.  That way I can focus on the important items I need to get done right away in the morning when I am the most productive.
  2. Focus.  Set a timer for 50 minutes, turn off all your distractions (email, phone, Facebook) and focus intensely on doing as much real work as you can.  Then take a break.
  3. Review where you are spending your time.  Do a four quadrant test (recommended by Steven Covey, Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). Take a piece of paper and dissect it into 4 quadrants.  Write down everything you did the entire day and put it into one of the four quadrants.  Quadrant 1 is for routine things.  Quadrants 2 is for things that happen unexpectedly.  Quadrant 3 is for things that other people delegate to you. The fourth quadrant is for your dreams and goals. If you aren't careful, Quadrant 1-3 will will take up most of your time, leaving little time for your dreams and goals.  This will also help you see where you are wasting time.
  4. Don't procrastinate.  Most people look at their to do list and do the thing that is easiest first.  Don't do this!  Instead, tackle the item that you fear the most. 
  5. Know when you are at your best.  If you are more productive in the morning, make sure you are focusing on the critical 20% of things you need to get done.  Don't do the easy tasks during that time that don't require you to be at your best.  I schedule my important things at the very beginning of the morning because that is when I am at my best.  I even have learned how to wake up an hour earlier in the morning so that I am not rushed.  Here are my tips on how to wake up earlier.
  6. Learn to say no!  If you learn to be more efficient than the rest of your coworkers, others will ask you to take on their work.  BE AWARE and be ready to say no!
  7. Set and respect deadlines.  Have you ever noticed how fast you can get things done the day before leaving for vacation?  That's because you had a deadline that you HAD to meet.  Make little deadlines for yourself like, I would really like to get this important task completed by the end of the week.  Then you will feel so great when you accomplish it!
  8. Email management.  Have a schedule to check your email so that you are not constantly getting email alerts all day.  That is a great way to get distracted and focus on unimportant things.  Many times it is important to reflect on emails before responding.  I leave emails in my inbox to respond to the next day and sometimes on my drive home I think of a completely different response that is much better in my head.  Don't be afraid to wait to respond. 
  9. Reward yourself.  If you reward yourself for something, it will most likely get done.  Only reward yourself for completing the critical 20% of activities.  Don't reward yourself for crossing the easy, 1 minute taskers off your to do list. (I am guilty of this, It feels so great when I cross something off my list!  But, most of the time they aren't really that important:) 
  10. The world needs you to do what you love.  Make sure you plan out ahead of time when you will make time for yourself each day to exercise or spend time doing what you are passionate about.  By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can actually improve your focus and concentration, which will help improve your efficiency.

What are your secrets to managing your time and getting things done?

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