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This article aims to help you make better use of your time.
- Take Time far Planning- Putting out today's fires often seems more important than long-term planning, but every moment spent in planning saves three or four in executing a task. Practice working with a mental picture of the coming week, month and year.
- Set priorities- At the start of each day, list the jobs you have to do in the order of their importance. When one job is complete, review your priorities to ensure they're still accurate.
- Set Deadlines- Set realistic deadlines and stick to them. To develop an accurate sense of how long it takes you to complete routing tasks, time yourself (start to finish, including interruptions) on regular tasks for one week.
- Tack1e One Thing at a Time- Forget about everything else until you've finished the one project that's on your desk.
- Use Your Prime Time Effectively- Determine your peak time of the day an devote that time to top-priority work.
- "Do Not Disturb"- If your job is flexible, set aside a part of your day (every day) when you don't allow interruptions.
- Learn How to Make Decisions- The kind of decision required depends on the circumstances. Sometimes, a snap decision is needed, while under other conditions, a more democratic approach is more appropriate.
- Handle Only Once-As soon as you've read that memo or letter, reply immediately while the subject is still fresh in your mind.
- Use the Telephone- Use the telephone for local calls instead of letters and memos. This cuts down on typing, filing and delivery through the mail.
- Reply on the Original Memo- For routine, in-house correspondence, jot your reply on the top or side of the memo you were sent and reverse the "to" and "from" instructions.
- Make all Your Calls at Once- If you have half-dozen telephone calls to make, place them constructively.
- Get out of Circulation- It's vital to keep in touch with what's happening in the company and the industry, but being on too many circulation lists uses too much valuable time.
- Set Time Limits on Meetings- Start on rime. Set a time limit and stick to it
- Throw Out Something Every Day- Take a look around you every day, and discard the things you don't really need.
- Keep Your Desk Clear
- Stop Procrastinating- Procrastination, worrying and preoccupation with personal affairs (or tomorrow's workload) are three of the biggest time-wasters.
- Set Your Watch Three Minutes Fast- Achievement-oriented individuals often set their watches a few minutes fast.
- Don't Plan to Work Overtime- Studies have shown that productivity declines
Rapidly after eight hours of work.
- Learn How to Delegate- This is one of the most obvious suggestions, but perhaps the most difficult to follow correctly.
- Reward Yourself- After you've completed an important piece of work, give yourself a pat on the back
Now put these ideas into practice. Analyze your current style of operation to find out when and how you waste time. You may be surprised to find that time is generally wasted in the same way every day. It may be useful to keep a time log for a week or two.
The next step is to change poor habits and work at developing new ones. Can small jobs be left until the end of the day when you're feeling tired? Can others be delegated? One final suggestion: If you're overwhelmed with work and can't see any light at the end of the tunnel, divide your work in to smaller units. The sense of accomplishing one thing at a time may help you regain control.