How To Improve Your Time Management
PurchTips - Edition # 34 October 21, 2003
By Charles Dominick
10 Steps To Improving Your Time Management Today
Step 1 - Make a "things-to-do" list.
Step 2 - Determine the deadline for each thing-to-do.
Step 3 - Make "Accomplish non-planned tasks" one of your daily things-to-do.
Step 4 - Determine how long each thing-to-do will take. Be sure to estimate the time you will spend on your "Accomplish non-planned tasks" thing-to-do based on your typical day.
Step 5 - Schedule your things-to-do. Using a calendar or planner, write down the days and times you will work on each thing-to-do. Make sure you've planned to meet all deadlines. For those things-to-do without deadlines, prioritize them so that they can be done at a time that won't interfere with your deadlines.
Step 6 - Do your things-to-do on schedule. As you complete your things-to-do, place a checkmark next to them. Place an "x" next to those that are canceled.
Step 7 - Minimize interruptions. Interruptions can double the amount of time necessary to accomplish things. Where possible, do non-urgent things (like reading emails) in batches. Don't stop doing something unless you've planned to stop or there is an emergency.
Step 8 - Use small pockets of time effectively. If you only have 15 minutes or so before your next meeting or lunch, focus on accumulating checkmarks rather than starting huge projects. Use this time to knock off the things-to-do that take little time such as returning phone calls, replying to emails, or any other short duration task.
Step 9 - Add things-to-do judiciously. Rather than working new tasks right away, schedule them - keeping in mind priorities and deadlines of existing tasks. Adjust your schedule so that you can still meet all deadlines.
Step 10 - Close out your list at day's end. Place an arrow next to those things-to-do that you didn't accomplish today and put them on tomorrow's things-to-do list. At the end of each day, everything on your list should have a checkmark, x, or arrow next to it.
After adopting this process, walk yourself through these steps daily to plan the current day and evaluate your schedule in the immediate future. Continually evaluate how these techniques are working for you. And seek even better ways of managing your time. Good luck!!!
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