One of the most popular questions I receive in my in-box is how I am able to balance my life. The truth is that I make lists for everything, and work on a very tight schedule. Everything from the time I wake up, to when I take my daily nap [I need my naps y'all] is mapped out in my daily to-do list. I find that I am less frazzled and able to accomplish a lot more when I have a daily agenda versus the days I just wing it. - Here is a short yet useful list of tips and tricks to help you better manage your time, ensuring that you get more done at the end of the day.
The key is to work smarter, not harder
Make a list of your day-to-day activities: This can include anything from the exact time you wake up in the morning, to your noon call with your BFF, and even the time you spend surfing the internet. Making a list of your activities will help you delegate your time to tasks that are higher on the priority list, ensuring you are more productive during the day. It will also help give you a clearer picture of how much you are actually able to take on during each day.
Cut out the fluff: Account for that 30 minutes - hour you may spend on social networking sites, blogs, talking on the phone, watching TV, anything that doesn't directly correlate to a goal. Once you have taken note of these activities, it is time to start prioritizing.
List all daily tasks in order of importance: This will be the order in which you complete these activities each day! This structure will help you complete pressing tasks in a timely and efficient manner.
Start each day with a "dreaded task": You will be amazed at how much better you feel after conquering high-priority tasks early on in the day.
Make each task time-specific & work on one task at a time: Some tasks can consume your whole day, so it is important to set time-lines and stick to them. It will help you work better, as you will stay motivated while you breeze through each task. >> For instance, you can set 30 minutes daily for answering emails, 1hr for internet research, 20 minutes for phone calls, etc.
Invest in a day calendar or other time management tools: Use tools like Google Calendar, iCal, or even an old fashioned day journal to keep track of important appointments, to-do lists, outings, and future events you may need to prepare for.
Stay away from these productivity killers:
Multi-tasking: Give your full attention to one task at a time, you are less likely to make errors, and your stress level will be lower while working. Completing one task at a time also makes for better time management as it is easier to delegate feasible time-lines for single projects versus compound tasks.
Disorganization: Disorganization can cripple even your best efforts to stay on track. Make sure you have everything you need to complete your tasks before you begin.
Improper/unclear to-do lists: To-do lists should be as precise as possible so that you can assign feasible time-lines. Instead of saying "work on school project" for one hour, break the project down into sections as follows: 30 minutes for research, and 30 minutes for outlining structure of the paper. Remember to break larger projects down into smaller bite-size pieces for better results.
Other productivity killers:
Surfing the internet while working
Texting while working
Watching TV while working
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