Eleven Secrets to Better Time
By Kristie Tamsevicius
Why is it
that the Bill Gate's of this world are rich and famous? What secret do they know that the
rest of us don't? If you study their lives closely, you'll discover the rich and famous have certain habits that attribute to
their success. Successful people are very careful about how they spend
their time. No matter how you slice it, we all have 24 hours in a day,
so the key lies in learning to use our time wisely. Below are some
ways you can dramatically increase your productivity through more
effective use of your time.
1. Monitor How You Currently Use Your Time: If it seems like your
day slips by all too quickly, try creating a log of your daily
activities. Once you see
where you are spending your time, you can identify and focus on the
activities that provide the greatest returns for you personally and
financially. Start your log by writing down what time you wake up, get
ready, and begin work. Calculate how much time you spend on individual
activities such as email, phone calls, and client work.
2. Calculate How Much Your Time Is Worth: Time is money. Knowing how
much your time is actually worth can help you make better decisions as
to whether you should perform a task or outsource it. For instance, if
your time is worth $200 an hour, you are far better off paying someone
$30 an hour to edit your newsletter. You can "bank" the
other $170 per hour by spending your time on profit making activities.
Also take the time to determine how much time a day you need to spend
on billable activities to make your desired profit. I try to spend 1.5
hours a day on money-making projects.
3. Create A Daily Schedule: Don't start your day without a to do list. Make a list of tasks and
categorize them into business building activities, client activities,
and personal items. Then break bigger unmanageable projects into
smaller "doable" chunks so they less intimidating and are
easier to accomplish.
4. Prioritize: Have more to do than hours in the day? By
prioritizing your tasks, you'll make sure that you are tackling the items that matter most. Create
a system that works for you. One standard way of prioritizing is to
mark items with A, B, and C.
Ask yourself these key questions:
What items MUST be done today?
Which items can be rescheduled?
What can be delegated?
Which tasks most closely match my priorities and goals?
Which items can be eliminated?
5. Learn To Say No: Are you adding one more item to your
never-ending To Do list? You are in control of your time. Be strong
and uphold your personal boundaries. When you are well rested and
treat yourself and your family to the time off you deserve, you'll feel happier and more productive when it's time to go back to work.
say yes, ask yourself these questions:
Do you really have the time or energy to do that extra
Do I like this customer? Are they good for me?
Will it be profitable?
Does it invade on your personal time?
Does it involve doing something you enjoy?
Does it fit in with your list of priorities and goals?
6. Remove Distractions And Time Sucks: Time sucks are lurking
everywhere like viruses. Think about which activities are eating up
your time. For me personally, these items include email, social calls,
and telemarketers. I "conquer" the email demon by shutting
down my Outlook when I am working. When a family member calls during
work time, I politely ask if I can call them back during the afternoon
and remind them of my work hours. Caller ID valiantly saves me from
the "would be" telemarketer time thieves. With one glance, I
can quickly differentiate telemarketers from important client calls.
7. Stick To The Plan: Try not to get sidetracked from your plan. One
of my friends has a motto, "A lack of planning on your part does
not constitute an emergency for me". It's a smart one to live by. Unless it's a true emergency, or you are being paid "rush" time, you
probably don't need to squeeze a last minute request in today. Also, by assigning
yourself project deadlines, you can keep on top of projects and avoid
those dreaded last minute emergencies.
8. Choose An Inspiring Place
And Time: We are all "built" differently. Do the tasks
which take your most "brain power" when you are at your
prime. Are you a morning person or do you work best burning the midnight
oils? Create an ultimate work haven that is clean, distraction free,
and inspiring. My office overlooks my flower garden and is right in
the heart of family activity. As I glance to the right, our Angel fish
"Spike" proudly parades across the fish tank. In front of
me, Monet has a glorious display of peach poppies in a field. Above
me, Monet is painting a vivid portrait of his flower garden. In the
living room, my son is softly singing the Spiderman theme to himself -
music to my ears!
9. Bundle Like Tasks Together: As you work through your daily list,
try to chunk your tasks into like activities. By creating a separate
"chunk" of time for answering email, invoicing, making
return phone calls, you'll save time and mental energy.
10. Avoid Interruptions: Trying to do the same thing over and over
again with interruptions can be maddening. Once you start a task, try
to finish it to the end. If something comes up that you need to
remember or do, unless it's urgent, simply add it to your list and continue on with your current
11. Be Organized: When things are tidy, it saves you time and frees
you to focus on the task at hand. Digging through a pile of papers and
finding a squished Twinkie isn't very conducive to the work experience. Follow your own
Lists: For instance, I arrange my phone
lists into groups according to how I use them: friends, family,
doctors, my children's playmates, etc. I also list people in my phone book that I talk to
on a first name basis by their first name alphabetically. For
instance, I list my mom under "M" and my brother under
"T" for Troy. "D" has a list of all my doctors. This works for me,
because it's how I think.
Emails: Another time saving idea is to color code your emails. In my
personal color scheme I use one color for clients, one for
newsletters, and another for my coworkers. You can also group your
emails using categories and folders.
One Calendar Meets All: Keeping track of work appointments, Brownie
meetings, and committee meetings can be very difficult. My secret to
keeping on top of family and work appointments is to schedule them all
on one calendar.
Daytimer Special Section: Create a special section of your Daytimer
just for special interests, hobbies, or kids. My husband keeps one
with all his stock info. I have a special kid section with phone
numbers for Brownie leaders, playmates, doctors, school contacts, bus
number and other items.
Summary: Why wait for success when you can literally schedule it! By
mastering your time, you can accomplish much more with less effort. Be
choosey about how you spend your time. Focus on activities which most
closely match your goals. By taking time to monitor, measure, and
manage your time, you will enjoy an abundance of success and
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