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Business // Thinking Smart
David S. Chang

More Tips On Managing Your Time

Last week we covered part one of learning to manage your time better. Visit artofthinkingsmart.com for the article. With more demands in our lives, managing our time better makes a significant difference in productivity. Here is part two of tips and resources to manage your time better!

1) Follow the “Ivy Lee Formula.” You can go to artofthinkingsmart.com for the full article, but the premise is to prioritize the six most important things you need to accomplish and that correlate to your goals. Complete the tasks from the most to least important and when done, cross them off. If you aren’t able to complete a task, move it to the top of the list the next day. At the end of the day, create another prioritized to-do list for the following day. This sets you up for success so you are ready to go and know exactly what you have to look forward to.

2) Focus! Distractions are one of the biggest obstacles to efficiency. Set up an environment where you can stay as focused as possible without interruptions. Try turning off your email notifications or phone so you aren’t tempted to check them constantly. If you are distracted by certain websites, there are programs that can block them until your tasks are completed. If you are in the habit of multi-tasking, research shows that it actually decreases productivity. If you try to do too much at once, you may end up not getting anything done at all! Focus is one of the most effective and powerful tools for productivity.

3) Block time on your calendar. According to studies, when you switch from one task to another, you lose 20 minutes of productivity. Schedule time on your calendar solely to complete a task. Most calendar programs allow you to share with others so they can see the time blocks not to interrupt you. Also, link your to-do list with your calendar. Set reminders the day before and 15 minutes before each task scheduled so you don’t miss any deadlines. I use a free online program called do.com that syncs tasks with my smartphone, desktop and calendar. The program also lets me assign tasks and projects to others, which leads to my next point.

4) Delegate! Not everyone may be in a position to have an assistant, but there may be situations where you can outsource and use third parties. Time is money, and even if you have to pay to delegate some tasks, it may be beneficial if it frees up much-needed time. Visit artofthinkingsmart.com for resources on outsourcing, virtual assistants and other online tools that help you be more productive and efficient.

5) Learn to say no. If you are like me, creating boundaries can be tough, since we feel like we should do everything that comes our way. But it is important to be honest with ourselves and others on what we can or cannot do. It is better to say “no” rather than say “yes” and not be able to complete it. Setting boundaries gives a solid foundation to focus on your priorities while minimizing things that can distract you.

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