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Time Management Tips

Spend time to save time

Don’t waste time rushing in and doing it wrong. Think about it first. What’s important to tackle first? What will you need? How are you going to organise it? It might seem like a waste of time when you want to get started, but you’ll waste more time if you’re not properly prepared.

Prioritise

Make a list of what needs to be done, and then decide on the best order to do them in. This isn’t just in order of importance. Note which tasks need preparatory work. You might need to gather more information before you start on some parts, or you might have to order resources. It might be helpful to make a chart of order of work.

Make reminders

You won’t remember everything. Write it down. Find a way to do this that suits you. It may be a typed list with check boxes that you update daily, or post-its scattered over the wall. You may have a pile of index cards, or a file on your computer desktop. The important thing is that the system works for you, or you will stop doing it.

Everything takes twice as long as you expect it to

Allow time for distractions, mistakes and the unforeseen. When you have to fit other things into your day, stick to tasks that you can do quickly. For tasks that will take a long time, book a block of time, and make it clear that you are unavailable for anything else.

Listen to your body clock

Some people work best in the early morning. Some come to life late at night. Winston Churchill and Einstein napped during the day. You’ll work best if you follow your own pattern, so wherever possible, arrange your timetable so you’re working at your peak time.

Say No to requests that get in the way

When people ask for favours, it can be difficult to say No. Before you agree to anything, think about how far it will disrupt what you need to do. If it’s unacceptable, tell them you can’t do it. Don’t refuse on principle, but don’t let doing favours obstruct your progress.

Don’t strive for perfection

In theory, perfection is the ideal. In practice, it’s unobtainable, and you will waste a lot of time if you keep trying. There comes a point of excellence when enough is enough, and further fiddling just delays the end result.

Find out how long things take

Complex projects have unpredictable elements, but you can minimise this by being aware of how long the routine tasks take. Test this out by timing them once. If you know it takes seven minutes to print one copy of the report, you know that you need around six hours to print fifty copies. This will help you to allow the right amount of time, rather than be shocked by the delay.

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