Time Management Tips That Actually Work

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Cindy Allen-Stuckey Cindy Allen-Stuckey

Does it seem that you never have enough time in the day? Have you ever looked back at your day and thought “I didn’t get anything accomplished, but I was busy”?

Some people seem to thrive on “being busy”--it’s like an adrenaline rush. They scurry from task to task & person to person. But many times, they aren’t getting the job done.

We all have the same 24 hours—we have to figure out how to best use these hours to concentrate on achieving results—not on being busy.

To get you started on managing your time better, here are 8 strategies that I recommend. Choose one of these strategies, try it for two to four weeks and see if it helps. If it does, keep doing it, and consider adding another one. If not, try a different one.

#1--Set goals. Know where you’re going and aim high. For every long-term goal you set, make sure you set many short and medium- term goals.

#2--Break large goals into smaller tasks. You’ve probably heard this quote—how do you eat an elephant? 1 bite at a time. Take your short and medium-term goals and break them into smaller tasks you can achieve along the way.

#3 –Plan. Do your weekly planning on Monday morning so you can structure your week and know what to accomplish. Then, instead of doing your daily planning each morning, do it the night before. You’ll sleep better and wake up less stressed.

#4--Prioritize your tasks. This ensures that you spend your time and energy on the tasks that are truly important to meet your goals. It’s easy to allow unimportant tasks to consume your time.

#5--Learn to say no. It really is OK to say “no”. Think about YOUR goals and schedule before you say “yes” to take on addition work and over commit.

#6--Take the time to do it right the first time. Doing quality work the first time may take more time upfront, but doing rework and making corrections take more time overall.

#7--Beat procrastination. Practice the 10-minute rule: Do you have task(s) that you dread? Try spending 10 minutes/daily on this.

#8--Make yourself un-interruptible. We get distracted—phone calls, emails, colleagues, and social media. But you allow this to happen. If you really need to get work done, limit distractions. Block out time for your important tasks—even if that means closing your door, turning off your phone and other electronic devices, and putting a sign on your door.

It’s impossible to get everything done, but you can concentrate on achieving results instead of being busy. Remember to try a strategy for two to four weeks and see if it works. If it doesn’t work for you, try a different one. If it helps you, keep doing it and consider adding another one.

Cindy Allen-Stuckey is the founder and CEO of Making Performance Matter, and a speaker and senior consultant with AccelaWork.

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