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Business // Thinking Smart
David S. Chang

Best Tips On Managing Your Time

In today’s world, we are required to accomplish more with fewer resources and in less time. This is one of the top reasons stress has skyrocketed the past few years. We are increasingly pulled in multiple directions with our work, family and personal lives while expected to perform just as well, if not better!

In addition to the stress, our overloaded schedules prevent us from being focused, which greatly decreases our productivity. With today’s job market less stable than before, it is more important to manage our time well. Companies look for employees and partners who know how to prioritize, accomplish tasks successfully and meet all deadlines despite additional demands.

This article and the next offer tips and resources to help you be more efficient and productive. We can’t change the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day, but we can change how we manage our time!

1) Clearly define your vision and goals for your personal and professional life. By defining your vision and top priorities, you set your eyes on what you need to be focused. Continually go back to this and ask yourself if what you are doing directly leads you to accomplishing your top priorities. If it doesn’t, ask yourself if it is worth doing. The goal is to get rid of anything that distracts you from what you should be focused on. Every morning I read through my vision and goals to remind myself of what I need to be focused on throughout the day. Visit artofthinkingsmart.com for more information on goal setting.

2) Create a to-do checklist and do the easy ones first. If you are like me, your to-do list can be long and intimidating. We can be paralyzed by our lists and find excuses to procrastinate! Studies show that getting started on tasks is more difficult than completing them. Although some say do the harder tasks first so you can get them out of the way, in my experience, if you complete easy tasks first, you have a sense of accomplishment that gives momentum and motivation to complete more-difficult tasks. If you have a list of 15 items and are able to knock out five of them quickly, it is rewarding to cross them off the to-do list! You also get the smaller tasks out of the way so you can concentrate and devote your energy to the larger ones. Eliminating these easy ones can take away stress while making it easy to get started.

3) Break big tasks into smaller tasks. When some tasks seem large and daunting, break them up as much as you can without much effort and stress. This will help you get started and move you closer to completing the entire task. Breaking up the task also helps you be more specific and give a step-by-step framework so you don’t miss anything. At times, you may need to delegate tasks, and breaking them up will help others accomplish theirs. Look to combine tasks that may be for different projects. Batching tasks together and counting them as one can help you be more efficient and avoid duplicative work.

Next week I’ll cover ways to help you focus and finish your tasks.

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