Time Management: 11 Tips

Work more efficiently and be more productive using these time-management tips:

  • Use a timer.
    Pick one item on your to-do list, set your timer for 15 minutes and get to work. Don't worry about finishing, just get started. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and get nothing done at all. Tackling tasks in small chunks helps you stay focused.
  • Delegate.
    Don't be afraid to enlist the help of others to complete projects that are time consuming or monotonous. Whether you have to hire a professional or your 10-year old son, do it.
  • Set goals.
    It's much easier to get something done if you know exactly what it is you're working toward. Set long-term goals first and then determine the short-term goals that will serve as stepping stones toward the larger goal.
  • Sort mail immediately.
    Mail can quickly become beastly, taking over every nook and cranny. When you get your mail each day, open it directly over the garbage can. Most likely, the bulk of it can be dropped right in. For the rest, determine what action needs to be taken and deal with it appropriately.
  • Make an appointment with yourself.
    Schedule at least one hour each day for "catch up" tasks such as work overflow, returning phone calls, answering emails etc. If you pencil time into your calendar, you're less likely to let the mundane (but necessary) tasks pile up.
  • Become friends with your voice mail.
    Don't be a slave to the phone. It really is OK to let voice mail get it once in a while.
  • Have an assembly line mentality.
    Complete like tasks together such as returning phone calls, answering email, sending out invoices etc. You'll be much more productive.
  • Work when you're most alert.
    Figure out your most productive time of day and set your work schedule accordingly.
  • Use checklists.
    For tasks that must be completed on a regular basis, make and keep simple checklists to ensure you don't overlook important steps in the process.
  • Give everything a place.
    Don't waste your time trying to find things that seemed to have disappeared. Organize your workspace so that every item has a home. It'll make locating and storing items a snap.
  • Be prepared.
    Reserve 5 minutes at the end of each day to review your schedule for the next. That way, you'll have no surprises.
  • Amy Andrews is the owner of SimplyComplete.com, where businesses & individuals hand off their "got-to-dos" so they can focus on their "want-to-dos."

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