by: Liz Centi

We all have the same amount of hours in a day, yet some people seem to accomplish so much more than we do. If you find yourself echoing this sentiment often, perhaps it is time to reevaluate how efficient the strategies you use to manage your day truly are. With just a few simple adjustments to your plan, you could be well on your way to being more productive.
To be effective with time, you first need to have a clear understanding of your goals. This consists of defining what needs to be done, and when exactly it needs to be done. You also want to incorporate things you’d like to be doing, as well. Categorize these items by importance, pleasure, and ROI. Successful time management is about taking stock in what you really want to spend time on and finding a good balance between that and what needs to be done.
Create a manageable plan by actually scheduling time out to complete each task. Set time limits for each item and go back to the task later if it isn’t accomplished. Stick to your schedule, and don’t get distracted by checking emails or answering calls. Unless they are emergencies, they will be there when you are free.
Taking frequent breaks is necessary and should be factored into your schedule. Working without breaks makes it difficult to stay focused and can cause more mistakes, which in turn, would eat up more of your time to correct. We all need to be refreshed, so make sure this is listed as all other tasks.
If you have a large project to complete, breaking it into smaller, more manageable milestones will give you the motivation to keep going. Periodically celebrating mini goals will re-energize you, as well. Studies show that just the tangible act of making lists and checking items off can reduce stress.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or say no. There are many things in our day that occupy time and energy that we can divide and conquer- if we’d only allow others to help. It’s difficult sometimes to give up control, but gaining that time back will enable us to focus on what truly matters. And don’t be afraid to say no to things that don’t fit into the overall plan. Those are the things that will drain energy and create more stress as a result.
Having a good plan will help you accomplish so much more. You will produce better quality work, be more in control, work more efficiently, and ultimately have more time for the things you enjoy!


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