Tips to Manage Your Time

Time and money are both very important in business. Yet, like me, many business people tend to give a lot more specific thought as to how to spend their money. Too often, how we spend our time is only thought of in terms of "What am I going to do today?" or "What should I do next?"

There are only 24 hours in your day, just the same as everybody else's and you need to know how to use those 24 hours to your advantage. There are so many simple ways to save time during our busy day that they are easily overlooked. Sometimes we just overlook the obvious. But being prepared with lists, notes, ongoing files, and systems will help you screen out those unwanted distractions and focus on the important matters at hand. So let's get down to business!

Here are some tips to manage your time:

First and foremost, Set priorities. Determine what is most important. Everything's not an earth-shattering emergency! Someone else's perception of a priority does not mean it is so to you. Discern what needs your attention immediately, what can be delegated, and what can be addressed later. Remember, prioritizing is the key to mastering the use of time. Regardless of how your priorities are defined, we could all use some extra time in the day. The following are some time management ideas that can help increase your productivity and improve the quality of your life. Try incorporating just a few of these ideas and see how it affects your life.

1. Plan your day the night before. List and prioritize the top five objectives you desire to accomplish when you get to the office. Start with the number one item on your list and stay with it until it is complete. Try to do the most difficult tasks first.

2. Get to the office early. You will never be successful in the sales profession if you get into the habit of coming to work at the "crack of noon."

3. Use a diary or digital organizer. With so much to organise in your busy life you need to record your appointments, things to do and goals somewhere. Preferably in a paper diary or digital organiser that you can take everywhere. This is the most effective way to get things done, plan your work and your life.

4. Get in the habit of using a To Do list every day. At the end of each day, make a list of items to complete the following day. This helps you put closure on the day so you don't leave worried about forgetting the tasks that await you tomorrow.

5. Clean out the Clutter. You will save yourself heaps of time, energy and money if you clear out your work and home environment?paperwork, books, old equipment etc. You'll be able to find things, save money because you won't have to buy what you already have hidden somewhere, plus you'll be less stressed.

6. Use the Right Tools. It's no good having the latest whiz-bang computer when the desk that you sit at is too small to accommodate it, or the chair has poor back support, or the lighting is dull causing you eyestrain and fatigue. All these factors heavily influence how you work. Invest or ask for a decent desk, purchase a desk lamp or request the light globes be changed. Don't avoid the warning signs your body gives you. Take action now before you have eye, back or neck problems.

7. Resolve to do today what you wanted to do tomorrow. Make a catch-up list of tasks you have avoided or put on the "back-burner" and rank them from the most important to the least important. Resolve to do at least one task from this list each day.

8. Do your most difficult work when you are in your peak performance state. If you're an early morning person, do that extra-effort-needed project first thing in the morning. If late evening hours are more your speed, save that high-energy project for that time.

9. Place your phone on voicemail mode at strategic times of the day. Voicemail is wonderful for those times when you're either feeling sluggish, want some quiet time, or just want to get a project done. You can access your messages later and return calls on a priority basis.

10. Learn to say NO once your priorities are set. Avoid interruptions. Set aside a period of the day as "off-limits" during which time you will not be interrupted. Use this time to work on your "A" or top priorities, or even as a designated time to handle your mail or return calls. One way to avoid interruption is to make it clear that when your door is closed you are not to be disturbed. Other way is to Let others in your home/office know when you don't want to be disturbed.

Constant interruptions are annoying and distracting; they are also time-zappers. Letting people know when it's ok to interrupt and when it's not is crucial to time management.

11. Schedule your phone calls around your peak performance levels. You want to give your customers/clients your very best attention and this requires energy and enthusiasm.

12. Avoid Unnecessary Meetings. Before agreeing to attend a meeting, check if you really need to be there. Maybe a phone call or email will be just as effective.

13. When you need a swift response, send an Email or make a phone call whenever possible to avoid time delays in receiving an answer.

14. Do What You Do Best and Delegate the Rest. At work see if there are ways you can delegate tasks which would suit someone else's talents. Many office and home based workers are spending heaps of time on mundane secretarial tasks which would take a person who is trained in that area a quarter of the time to undertake. Assign tasks to another or others to give you more time to handle the tasks which only you can do. Effectively multiplying your time is the ultimate time management technique. Remember, everything that needs to be done does not have to be done by you. Delegating to another person can save you a lot of time in mundane tasking. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Avoid the temptation of doing administrative duties and paperwork. Salespeople historically tend to hide behind their paperwork. Focus your efforts on the things that you are licensed or hired to do and consider employing someone else to handle your paperwork. If you have any doubt, ask yourself "What is the best use of my time right now?"

15. Instead of a to-do list, create a goal for the day. Throw out the to-do list that never gets done, causes you stress and frustration, and makes you feel like a failure. Instead, set yourself a single goal for the day.

16. Schedule free time. Find at least one day each week during which you do no work or business at all. You will get a better perspective on your work after you have time away from it.

17. Look After Yourself First. Exercise regularly, eat healthily and be around positive people. Feed your mind by attending personal development courses. Read self-help and motivational books, listen to tapes. Do the right thing by yourself and you'll have heaps of energy, be motivated which in turn will help you be more productive.

Time management really can be easy. A fact! You are in control of your time. If you take away one time management tip, remember that good time management is about knowing what's most important and doing that the most. Don't forget the most important time management tip- make time for yourself. You're no good to anyone if you're sleep deprived and miserable. We all deserve a little downtime, even if that means you have to schedule some time for yourself into your calendar each day. Your business, family and relationships will all benefit when your priorities are in order and you have balance in your life.

By following these simple yet very effective ideas you will have more control over your work and your life, experience less stress and be more proactive. All of these factors affect your general well-being, confidence and results.

Yes, these strategies are simple and you probably already knew what you need to do, you just haven't done it yet. Isn't it time you took action?

Guy Mendelson

[email protected]

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