During a typical work day, do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you need to complete? Do you feel like you never have enough time? Are you distracted by constant interruptions? Are you frustrated about never being able to get organized?
Most people know that effective time management allows you to accomplish more in a given day. But did you know that getting organized can also help your health? By learning how to use your time more wisely, you can reduce stress, boost productivity, and increase your quality of life.
You might be thinking, "But I'm not a naturally organized person. I don't even know where to begin!" Don't worry-you're not alone. The key is to start small. Try a few of these productivity tips below, just one at a time. You might be surprised by the big difference a small step can make.
* Make a plan. Planning each day can increase your sense of control and accomplishment. Put the most important items of your to-do list at the top. Keep track of daily activities to give yourself enough time and avoid double-booking.
* Prioritize your tasks. Figure our which things are important and urgent; put them at the top of your list so you know you are spending your time on what really matters.
* Say no to nonessential tasks. When co-workers ask you to take on new things, ask yourself: Is this task aligned with both my goals for the day and my schedule? If the answer is no, take a pass.
* Delegate. It's okay to ask for help when you need it!
* Get it right the first time. The temptation is often to rush through tasks, thinking it will help you get more done. But rushing often means making avoidable mistakes, which take more time to correct. Taking a few extra minutes to complete a task well could literally save you hours down the road.
* Think bite-sized pieces. Break down large, time-consuming projects into smaller chunks.
* Use the 10-minute rule. Often the hardest part is just getting started on a dreaded task. Try devoting ten minutes a day to it. You'll likely be surprised to find that it's not as bad as you thought.
* Try honest evaluation. How are you really spending your time? Keep a diary of everything you do for three days. What could you do with the time you're not using efficiently? Exercise? Reading? Time with family and friends?
* Limit distractions. Block out chunks of time if you need to concentrate. Shut the door, turn off your phone or pager, or close your email if you truly need to focus.
* Get good sleep, good food, and good exercise. A healthy diet, sufficient rest and regular activity naturally boost your body's energy levels and your ability to get more done in less time.
* Take a time management course. If your employer offers a class, take it. If not, request they get one. (Check out Power & Accomplishment. It's available as a home study course and as a corporate workshop)
* Take a deep breath. Forcing yourself to keep going when you are drained or frazzled impedes progress and makes mistakes more likely. A quick walk, some stretches, or even an occasional day off can help you replenish your reserves and bring fresh energy to your work.
* Recognize the time for professional help. If your life feels truly unmanageable and out of control, it might be time to consult a professional. You can contact your employee assistance program (EAP) for help, talk to your doctor, or hire a productivity coach.
Heidi is a professional organizer, creator of The Fast-Filing Method home filing system
& publisher of Life Made Simple e-Magazine. Heidi energizes her readers' lives by teaching simple & effective organizational systems & time mastery skills to help you accomplish more in less time, make more money & GAIN peace of mind! Visit ClearSimpleLiving.com to get a FREE Home Organization
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