Take control of your time: 10 helpful hints to help you make the best use of your time

taylor2.jpgBegin to take more control by writing NO in big letter over your diary pages.   It will make you think first of the impact a commitment will have on your life and goals. Read on for 10 helpful tips.

1:  Be efficient with your time

 We all get the same number of hours; decide how you will use them.  At times we have no choice but to queue.  Do you spend this time, feeling frustrated, or use your notebook to jot down thoughts you may have?  What learning material could you keep on you to read when waiting?

2:  Prioritise

Do you spend your time responding to other people's priorities or in setting your own?  Are  you clear on your goals for the day?  What do you want to achieve? Take time to list your action steps either first thing in a morning, or as you wind down at the end of the working day.

3:  Don't get sidetracked  

Emails and the Internet can seduce us into aimlessly spending our time.  Choose to look at emails just 2 or 3 times a day, and anything that isn't urgent can be put into a folder ready to be reviewed after your working hours.

4:  Break down big tasks

Sometimes jobs can be so big, that we don't know where to start. Think about any task you have that is overwhelming.  What is the first step that you can take?  Make a note.  Then make a note of the next one.

5:  Learn to say no

Many people love to please others and will agree to take on anything from small chores to major projects without first considering whether it is right for them.  Begin to take more control by writing NO in big letters over your diary pages.  It will make you think first of the impact a commitment will have on your life and goals.

6:  Plan on a yearly, monthly and weekly basis

Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a day, and underestimate what they can achieve in a lifetime.  Spend time to set longer-term goals, and decide when you will focus on them.

7:  Don't overfill your diary

Too often we fill our diary with back-to- back appointments and then we get stressed when meetings over run, or we have something urgent to do. Keep some spare time each day to enable you to deal with unplanned tasks.  Should none occur, then you can make a start on something else, but it is you in control, rather than other people controlling you.   

8:  Are you an owl or a lark?

Some people are at their best first thing in a morning; others can work into the small hours.  Which is your preference?  

There is no point in working on a complex task first thing if you take till lunchtime to really function effectively.  Once you know your preference you can schedule the more difficult and important tasks for when your brain is at its best.

9:  Under promise and over deliver

Too often we find ourselves running to catch up as we haven't allowed ourselves enough time.  We think a job will take a day, realise we won't hit the deadline and then have to work late, drop other work or disappoint someone.  Before you next tell someone when they will receive the report, have a machine fixed etc, add on some extra time.  It's   prudent to allow for unforeseen emergencies, and when you deliver early, they will be delighted.

10:  Make a start

Sometimes we fail to achieve a task, as we just haven't been able to start, we feel unable to begin.  Authors' talk of writers block where they find it impossible to think of what to say, and end up writing nothing.  To move them out of this phase, they are encouraged to write anything.  Why don't you make a start?