"I am totally behind the 8-ball with my time skills."
"How can I manage my time more efficiently?"
"I need some help with taking advantage of time given to me."
"I am the queen of time wasters. Help!"
The effective use of your time can truly make or break you. You can either get more done in less time or less done in far more time than it's worth!
If you struggle with time management, it's time to take a look at the following tips and suggestions. Keep in mind though, that there are no pre-set time management rules.
What works for your friends, may not work for you, and that's okay. The goal is to find exactly what works for YOU.
Consider the following exercises to help you build your time management skills:
Close your door and turn off the phone.
If you have an important task at hand, it's important that you avoid unnecessary interruptions. Sitting alone can certainly help you to clear your head. Also, if you have Internet access or a Smartphone, resist the urge to go online to time-wasting websites, like Twitter or Youtube.
How will you eliminate interruptions?
Have a place for common items.
When you get home, place items like your keys and wallet in the same place. The next time you go out, there will be no question where they're located and you won't waste precious time looking for them.
Where will you put items you need?
Change your behavior.
If you've identified a certain behavior that's counterproductive to your time management, take steps to correct this behavior.
- For example, if you always take a long lunch, make it a point to set a timer so you can return to your duties on time.
What behavior drives you nuts?
Minimize and organize your documents.
Even though a lot of information is digital these days, it doesn't mean you should keep every email, file, or document on your desktop.
- Delete what's unnecessary, organize files in folders, and only keep documents that you're actively using at your fingertips.
How organized are you?
Estimate your time.
Whether you're doing a work assignment or something fun, plan in advance how long you think it will take. As long as you remain aware of the time, you won't suddenly lose a few hours without realizing it.
Are you good at planning?
Less planning, more action.
How often do you find yourself thinking about what you have yet to do? Merely thinking about the future won't get you anywhere.
- Strive to live in the "now" and take action to complete your tasks.
When will you start taking action?
This is a difficult one for most people! When you keep putting something off that you need to accomplish, you tend to spend more time thinking about the fact that you have to do it when you could have already completed the task.
- Quit making excuses and work up the willpower to do the things you hate to do. Once you do it, you'll strengthen your resolve and build momentum.
Are you a chronic procrastinator? What will you do to shed this habit?
Setting goals is an important part of any plan. When you're working, it's far easier to track your progress and complete your task more efficiently if you have a specific goal to achieve.
What are your goals?
Ensure you reward yourself for a job well done. A reward will motivate you to get through the tougher tasks and avoid procrastination.
- It's important to have some fun in life!
How will you reward yourself?
It's important to be self-disciplined, but you don't want to overdo it and burn out. Mental breaks will actually boost your productivity because your mind has a chance to reflect, rejuvenate, and repair itself subconsciously.
- Schedule frequent 10-minute breaks to clear your mind.
When are you going to pencil in breaks?
The most important thing to remember about time management is to find something that works for you personally.
Start by paying attention to your bad habits and decisions so you can better identify when you feel tempted to waste time and procrastinate.
Be sure to keep taking steps in the right direction and you'll quickly conquer the time wasters that have kept you from success for far too long!
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