Top ten tips for effective time management

Have you ever thought to yourself that there aren’t enough hours in the day, or felt overwhelmed at the tasks facing you? If you have, this article can help you! • Clarify your goals and strategy. Be very clear about your aims and ambitions, both short and long term. Write them down. Once you know what you really want to achieve ( and why) it’s easier to make decisions about what needs doing, and to plan accordingly. • Focus on your top priorities. You’ll be more productive and profitable if you identify and.focus on the areas most important to your business. Work on the fundamentals first. The Latin word ‘fundamentum’ means foundation – so take action, build strong foundations and the rest should follow. • Schedule time. Literally write an appointment in your work planner (you do have one of those, don’t you?) to set aside a realistic block of time for your priority actions. This reduces anxiety over not having enough time and keeps you focused. • Say no! Consider Jim Rohn’s suggestion. “Learn how to say no. Don’t let your mouth overload your back.” Always check your schedule before committing to anything new. Don’t allow others to divert you from your objectives. • Create supportive systems. This includes systems for filing, management information and communication. • Take a reality check. Will your current activity have a positive outcome, or are you doing it to avoid something else? Ask yourself – will doing this take me towards my goal? As Peter F Drucker observed “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” • Delegate! It’s tempting to do something yourself when you think you can do it faster and better. But consider the long term – delegation now will save time in the future, and if done appropriately can motivate your staff, boost their confidence and help them develop their skills. • Repeat your success. Remember the last time you went away on holiday, and how you got so much done in those few days before you left? What strategies and techniques did you employ that made you so effective and focused? Can you repeat them? Alternatively, imagine you are going away tomorrow and work through today accordingly. • Balance your life. Formally schedule personal activities too, so you make time for family, friends, your health and fun because having a balanced life reduces stress and increases energy levels. Time management is really about life management! • End the day. At the end of the working day, tidy your desk, make notes about what needs doing tomorrow and prioritise those tasks. You’ll worry less that evening and be prepared and focused the next morning. And a final thought. “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.”

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