7 Ways To Improve Your Time Management
In today's digital age, we are often overwhelmed with information and interruptions. We are constantly bombarded by email, phone calls, text messages, tweets, Facebook updates, and drop in visitors. We, as business people, tend to struggle just to keep up.
Your time is your most valuable asset. Here are a few tips you can use to maximize your time and take control of your life.
- Deal with email only two or three times a day.
Turn off the email notification on your phone. You'll be tempted to look when you hear it. Close Outlook when you're not actively using it. By checking your email every time you hear the 'ding', you're losing your concentration on whatever you were working on. While it doesn't seem like much, that break in concentration makes it take much longer to finish your tasks, because you have to shift your mindset back and forth constantly.
- Keep a to do list.
Make a list of every single thing you still have pending. Don't do anything until you add it to your list. The list of everything you need to do is your master list. From this list, you can prioritize things to do each day. There's something very satisfying about crossing things off your list.
- Always work on your most important task first.
Brian Tracy fans will recognize the phrase "Eat That Frog". This phrase comes from the saying that "If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long." The frog is the most important, biggest project you have. Get started on it first thing in the morning and keep at it until it's done.
- Single handle every task.
If you only deal with each item on your list once, you only have to get in that mindset once. It takes more time to jump around between ideas than it does to just finish up. You don't want to spend all of your time shuffling paper.
- Group similar tasks together.
If you need to make a bunch of phone calls, do them all at once. Block out time on your schedule and get them done. If you maintain a blog, write several posts at once and save them as drafts. Respond to all your emails at the same time. If you have several errands to run, make one trip and do them all. This will save an incredible amount of time.
- Use a calendar.
I know, this seems obvious. What I mean is use a calendar more than you already do. Don't just schedule in your appointments with other people, schedule in your phone calls, emails, errands, reading, and everything else. By putting these things on your calendar, you're committed to doing them.
- Start a little earlier.
Get to the office before people expect you to, and use the quiet time to think, plan, and get the big stuff done before the phone starts ringing.
By integrating these simple ideas into your life, you'll get more done in less time, and reduce the amount of stress in your life.
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