Time is a precious commodity that's available to all of us in equal parts to use as we choose. “Time is your personal possession.Nobody can manage it or fix it for you,” says Glenn Van Ekeren, author of “12 Simple Secrets of Happiness at Work.” “One of the
best ways to use your time wisely is to ask yourself, ‘Is this the best way for me to be spending my time right now?' And, if it isn't, change your activity to one that will bring value to your company.”
Here are Mr. Van Ekeren's other suggestions to help you get a hold on wasted time.
Schedule work according to your peak productivity time. Dedicate those hours when you're most productive to doing things that give the highest return and produce the greatest value.
Determine your priorities.
“Overambitious to–do lists can be unrealistic and antiproductive,” says Mr. Van Ekeren. “Make choices. Sort out your ‘have–to's' from your ‘choose–to's.' You'll be amazed how many times you chose to do rather than have to do. Direct your energies toward activities that are the most important to you.”
Go for results.
Be result–oriented rather than activity–oriented. Activity doesn't equal accomplishment. “Measure your effectiveness by what you achieve, not by how busy you are,” says Mr. Van Ekeren.
Have a place for everything and have everything in its place, then maintain that sense of order.
Learn to say no.
Busy people must simply learn to refuse some demands on their time. “It's natural not to want to disappoint people, but sometimes we're unrealistic about our time limits,” says Mr. Van Ekeren. “It's easy to let our ego get in the way of saying no. But you'll never feel in control if you're biting off more than you can chew.”
Work on your attitude.
Your attitude about how busy you are, the amount of time you have or the demands on your life can sabotage any effort to make the most of the time you have. Be flexible. Not everything will go as expected. Mr. Van Ekeren advises seeking new opportunities when your game plan runs into roadblocks.
Do it right the first time.
If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
Place deadlines on yourself.
Don't allow minor or major projects to drag on indefinitely. Challenge yourself with deadlines and beat them. “Try not to leave projects hanging at the end of the day,” says Mr. Van Ekeren. “Bring closure to as much as you can.”
Prepare for unexpected downtime.
Spare minutes created by waiting in airports, restaurants or traffic can be the perfect time to complete small projects.
Get up earlier.
By rising 30 minutes earlier each day, you add 3–1/2 hours of productivity to your week. “Multiply that by 52 weeks, and you'll have an additional 180 hours to accomplish your priorities,” says Mr. Van Ekeren.
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