Managing Your Time More Efficiently

The tips below can help you with productivity … it’s about time.

Have you ever said, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day?” Have you ever wondered how your colleague or neighbor seems to get so much more accomplished than you do? Everyone has the same 1,440 minutes each day; it’s how you use them that counts.

Time Tip #1: View time in visual, rather than abstract terms – Think of each day as a storage container with a defined, specific capacity. Like a container, a day has boundaries or borders; there’s only so much that can be accomplished. Prioritize your schedule based on what’s most important.

Consider using an analog, rather than a digital clock, so you can visually see time passing.

Time Tip #2: Limit Meeting Attendance – Smaller meetings are generally more productive, assuming decision makers are present. The more attendees included, the longer the meeting lasts, limiting your time to accomplish other tasks.

Time Tip #3: Delay Electronics
Complete at least one high priority task prior to turning on your computer, checking e-mails, or voice mails. E-mail/Internet searches can lead you “down the rabbit hole,” pulling your focus from more important projects.

Time Tip #4: Schedule Set Times to Check Your E-mail – Constantly checking email pulls your focus from the task at hand. Turn off beeps and alerts indicating a new message. Dr. Gloria Mark, who studies digital distraction at U.C. Irvine, reports it takes between 8-23 minutes to regain the level of focus/concentration you had prior to the interruption.

Time Tip #5: Track Your Time – It’s hard to manage time when you aren’t cognizant of how you’re actually spending your time. Many people significantly under or over-estimate how long a specific task actually takes. If you have no reference point for how long it really takes you to check e-mail, write a memo to your boss, or go grocery shopping, it’s difficult to identify areas where you can be more efficient. Track your time for a week to get some solid data about where your time is going. Make notes every half-hour; the results may surprise you!

Time Tip #6: Say “NO!” – “No!” is a complete sentence, and one you should use. Your schedule and your time are valuable assets that need to be protected. It’s okay to say “no” in order to stay on task.

Time Tip #7: Use a Timer – Many people work better under pressure, so deadlines can help you manage time. Use an alarm/timer to set discrete deadlines/time blocks (15 minutes, half hour, an hour) and work diligently until the alarm sounds. Take a break, then move to the next task.

Time Tip #8: Break large projects down – Small tasks feel less daunting than one massive project. Break your project into bite-sized chunks. It will feel less overwhelming, and you’ll be able to cross the big project off your list.

About the Author: Certified Professional Organizer Deborah Gussoff, MBA, is president and founder of
In Order, Inc. She can be reached at www.inorder.com or 973-334-3477.


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