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Filed under: Self Improvement Time Management in Seven Easy Steps

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Have you been procrastinating about projects you need to get started? Do you find yourself continually frustrated at the end of the day, with a mound of things that need to be done? Unfinished projects, e-mails to answer, stacks of paper that keep piling up? If so, you’re not alone. A lot of people suffer from an inability to make the most effective use of their time, but there is a solution if you just apply a few simple time management strategies. You’ll be able get more accomplished in less time with less hassle than ever before!

1. Set goals and determine what you want to accomplish. Determine when you need to have the task completed by. Don’t think of this as a “to do” list but rather a “must do” list. Don’t give yourself the option of not finishing the task.

2. Determine where you are losing time. Keep track of what activities are eating up your valuable time. Checking e-mails throughout the day can be a huge time waster. A much better option is to get as many things accomplished as possible early on, and then check e-mails later in the day, all at once. Also, it’s a good idea to keep your e-mail folders organized so that you can easily find what you’re looking for. There’s no need to do double paper handling, even if it’s just electronic paper. Another tip for e-mails is in regards to handling long e-mails with multiple replies. Just keep the latest version and delete all previous versions. That way you won’t be reading the same things over and over again.

3. Use a day timer or computer contact manager software. Use one of these essential tools to list everything you need to accomplish and keep track of all your valuable contacts.

4. Prioritize. Each morning, review the tasks you need to accomplish and prioritize them. Determine which ones are urgent, needing immediate action, and which ones can wait. Do the most important things first. Sometimes these are things you don’t really want to do but by getting the tough stuff out of the way you’ll feel a greater sense of accomplishment.

5. Ask for help; delegate. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Ask for the assistance of others whenever possible.

6. Have a plan. When you have a doctor’s appointment this doesn’t have to be down time. Bring something with you that you can work on – a book or report to read, a notepad, a laptop computer, or a PDA to check your email. Continue working on those tasks. Don’t let a moment go by wasted. Do this anytime you know you’ll be waiting in a lobby for any reason.

7. Work the plan. Be consistent and work the plan every day. Consistency is the key to this endeavor. By simply taking action, you put an end to your procrastination. If you’ve set realistic goals and you’ve followed the seven steps outlined here, you’ll be on your way to getting things done and making your productivity soar! There may still be some days that you just can’t get everything done. If you’re consistent however, you’ll be on your way to living a more productive and less stressful life. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and how we choose to spend this time is up to us.

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