Happy New Year! Wouldn’t it be great if this year you could buy extra hours on Ebay or Overstock.com? It would also be great to win the lottery but that’s not going to happen (at least not today). While I can’t give you more hours in the day, I can give you some tips for saving time.
- Don’t rely on your memory. No matter how small the task, put it on a to-do list. Without a list, you run the risk of letting smaller tasks fall through the cracks.
- Throughout the day, evaluate your priorities. Face it…you can’t do everything. As you get a new task, put it on your list and figure out its priority.
- Protect your time. If you waste one hour each day, at the end of the year (subtracting two weeks for vacation), you’ll have wasted over 31, eight-hour days. Depressing, isn’t it?
- Follow the rule “do it or delete it.” Before you automatically transfer a task to your next day’s list, figure out why you haven’t started it or if it even needs to be done.
- Keep personal tasks on your to do list, but list them separately. It’s hard enough to keep track of tasks and multiple lists.
- List the projects you need to handle and break them down into individual tasks. Then transfer a few tasks from your project list to your to-do list on the day you need to handle them.
- Limit the number of times you check e-mail every day. If you kept a log of how much time you wasted spent on e-mail, you’d be shocked. I know I was when I tried that eye-opening exercise.
- Realize you can’t do everything and instead delegate as many tasks as possible. Consider having an intern or a virtual assistant handle routine tasks so you can take care of tasks that require your expertise.
- Be realistic about the number of tasks you can handle each day or week. A long list can ruin anyone’s day and isn’t much of a motivator to get things done.
- Develop false deadlines. This is where it’s OK to lie to yourself. If you have a deadline at the end of the month, record the deadline four days earlier. Not everyone’s an adrenaline junkie who enjoys waiting until the last minute to finish a project. Save the adrenaline high for amusement parks and driving with your teenager.
- Know the difference between urgent and important. Important means something needs to be done while urgent means it has to be done immediately. Knowing the difference between the two will make setting priorities easier.
One extra tip: make time for yourself in 2010. You deserve it.
About The Guest Author: Lisa Kanarek is one of the nation’s leading home office experts and the author of several books including Home Office Solutions. She is the founder of HomeOfficeLife, a firm that advises corporations and individuals on all aspects of working from home and writes the blog, Working Naked.