10 Ways to Stop Throwing Away Your Time

Does time seem to be running away with you or do you have more “to do’s” at the end of your day that you just didn’t seem to get crossed off your list?  No, it’s not because you are too detail-oriented or work too slowly.  It’s because you may be letting time slip away with you.

Here are 10 ways to keep your time on track:

1.  First thing’s first – realize and admit that multi-tasking is bad.  Trying to do more than one thing at a time makes each task take twice as long.  If you really thought about this, you’d know it’s true.

2.  Block off times to return and make calls, write or reply to emails, admin, pay bills, errands, make lists, sort papers, file, etc.  Try to make a schedule and stick to it,  i.e.,  reply to emails from 12-1 pm daily.

3.  Stop answering your phone every time in rings.  Being interrupted by phone calls is a huge time stealer.  Simply indicate on your voicemail that you will be checking for messages and returning calls at specific times.

4.  Do not keep your email open at all times or at least don’t keep your notification on so it disrupts you.

5.  If an email comes in that you know will need a response, but you don’t have time to deal with it at that moment, simply start the response and then save it to your draft folder to be completed later.  There are lots of things you can do to manage your inbox more effectively.

6.  Finish each task you start or take it too a logical stopping point if you can’t finish it in an reasonable period of time.

7.  Do your most difficult or time-consuming task first, that way the rest of the day will seem to go faster rather than having that task still on you to-do list.

8.  You already know your most productive times of the day, so use them to your best advantage.

9.  Organize your to-do list every day either at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day for the following day.  Suggestion: Once a week on Sunday night, make a master list of everything you need to get done that week.

10.  Stay organized.  Put papers away when you don’t need them.  Clear off your desk at the end of each work day so you can start fresh every work day.

BONUS: Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can get done today, as you never know what tomorrow may bring.

Like a good habit, it takes time and practice to become second nature.  Try keeping track of your time in 15-30 minute increments.

Better Time Management will positively impact all aspects of your life – professionally and personally – not to mention less stress and more productivity in less time.

Most importantly, if you don’t value your time, no one else will.  Lead by example.

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4 Responses to “10 Ways to Stop Throwing Away Your Time”

  1. Anthony December 7, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    Wow Lynne, sweet advice. Hard to NOT feel like a slave to your inbox. Like anything worthwhile, it takes effort and practice to get a handle on your time and take control of your productivity. Thanks for the post.

  2. Vanessa Hutcheson December 8, 2010 at 12:19 am #

    An extra tip; I set up two profiles on my computer, one for “work time” and one for “free time.” The “free time” profile is the administrator; the “work time” profile is a supplemental one. This enables me to use my administrative capacity to impose parental controls on what the “work time” profile can do. I used these parental controls to block distracting websites (YouTube, Facebook, SomethingAwful) and applications (Solitaire, Minesweeper, etc). Now, when it’s time to work, I log into my “work time” profile, and wasting time is more of a hassle than it’s worth!

  3. Andrea Reindl December 8, 2010 at 5:30 am #

    Vanessa, now that is one way to keep on task. The monster of interesting information on my computer does sometimes eat up time in my day. I have to be honest, I’m not sure if I’m that organized to do the 2 profiles thing….I’ll sleep on it and decide tomorrow:)

  4. Jennifer Palmer Cockton December 8, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

    Great Reminder Lynne!

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