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Manage your time effectively

Poor management of time will prevent even the smartest of people from reaching their full potential. You either end up doing very little or not at all and living an unproductive life is much worse than not living at all.

All of us have the same amount of time so the challenge that face us is using this resource effectively.

Here’s a few tips to help you get started:

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Set Goals

Goals are not just for a sense of direction, they help you keep track of where you are, what you’ve done and what still needs to be done. Just remember SMART:

  • Specific – Set very definite goals. It’s constrictive yes but it will prevent you from getting sidetracked from what you reall want to do.
  • Measurable – When you’re doing something, you want to be able to track your progress. Goals you can’t measure are difficult to attain because you won’t know where you are.
  • Attainable – Set goals with common sense in mind. Set goals that you have the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. Don’t set something virtually impossible or you’ll end up giving up.
  • Realistic – Your goal be an objective that you are both willing and able to work, something that you believe can be accomplished. A goal can be both high and realistic, but be sure each goal represents substantial progress.
  • Time-bound – Goals should be limited by a time frame. A sense of urgency is a great motivator. Vague measurements like “someday” doesn’t really help.

Plan and Organize

Time used for planning is time well-spent. If you fail to take time for planning, you are a way, planning to fail. Keep organized in a way that makes sense to you. Use a calendar, a planner or even a notebook. Planning and organizing will help you expect any problems that may come up and deal with them.

Be Flexible

Don’t spend all your time on your work. Allocate time for interruptions and distractions and even unplanned “emergencies.” Doing so will help you cope with said emergency and not cram your work by scheduling routine tasks at a later time.

If you get lost, just ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I can be doing with my time right now?” to help you get back on track.

Consider your “Best time”

No one works efficient every waking moment which is why it’s best that you determine what time works best for you. Are you a “morning person,” a “night owl,” or a late afternoon “whiz?” Knowing when your best time is and planning to use that time of day for your priorities is effective time management.

Do what’s right

I have a saying stuck in my head: “Doing the right thing is more important than doing things right.” Doing the right thing makes you effective; doing things right makes you efficient. No one does thingz right the first time so don’t be disappointed when you fail. Focus first on effectiveness, then concentrate on efficiency.

time_management2.jpgPrioritize Urgent Tasks

Urgent tasks are both volatile and very demanding. They have short-term consequences and usually interfere with tasks that have long-term, goal-related implications. As much as you can, reduce the number urgent tasks that need your attention so you can spend more time on more important priorities.

No one is perfect

Perfectionist has its uses but we’re only human. Whenever you’ve done something wrong, learn from it instead of brooding over things already past Stop paying unnecessary attention to detail unless you’ve already done things right already.

Stop Procasticating

When you are avoiding something, break it into smaller tasks and do just one of the smaller tasks at a time. Or even better set a time limit and set yourself forward with a sense of urgency. Doing things a little at a time may be slow but it’s better than doing nothing at all.

Learn to use “NO”

Saying “NO” is often difficult. This requires practice, but the more you say it, the less guilty you will feel and the more jobs you are committed to. Allocating time for important but often impromtu prorities such as family and friends helps but first you must be convinced that you and your priorities are important — that seems to be the hardest part in learning to say “no.” Once convinced of their importance, saying “no” to the unimportant in life gets easier.

Reward Yourself

People usually neglect giving to themselves. Promise yourself a reward for completing a task, or part of it, no matter how big or small it is. After it’s done indulge in your reward.

Doing so will motivate you to work and help you enjoy doing it. Rewards also help you maintain the necessary balance between work and play.

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  1. Richard Rinyai January 23, 2008 Reply

    I am still trying to say “No” at times. It can be difficult since it’s in my nature to help others, especially working in a department of 30 with 6 managers and myself being the sole administrative assistant.

    I would also speak with my manager if I get overloaded with work and has helped quite a lot. It actually helps my performance review, since it shows that I am taking initiative to be more productive.

    Thanks,

    Richard Rinyai
    http://www.theprofessionalassistant.net

    Richard Rinyai’s last blog post..Using Microsoft Outlook Calendar Properly

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