New Year's Resolution

The New Year is headed our way, ready or not! Is your New Year's resolution to turn over a new leaf and adopt time management? If not, maybe it should be!

The general concept of time management is the control of your activities to accomplish your goals. Once your goals are set, it is imperative to have activities and plans that get help you meet your goals. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you are completing the steps to your goal because goals, whether work related or personal, represent our aspirations for something better. Taking the action to realistically reach those goals is what separates the people who achieve and the people who are stuck in a cycle of wishful thinking.

As humans, it is very hard to change our behaviors and getting started may seem like an obstacle. So here are some tips and strategies for getting it going for you!

Start by using your calendar. Whether you use a palm device, computer, or even on the desk, keeping track of your time on a calendar will help you recognize where you may be wasting time or identify items you can delegate. Designate specific time blocks for certain tasks, family time, and even yourself. The day may not always go perfectly according to schedule but if you can keep commitments that you've blocked out you will be more productive. Some people even block out time at work with the door closed and no calls so they have uninterupted time to focus.

Next dump all those "things to do" out of your head and onto paper. The list of things to do in front of you and for others to see, this has two results. First, your list will remind you visually throughout the day of what you are to be doing. Secondly, having the list posted indicates to others that you are busy with jobs to do and your time is precious.

Next, review your list and determine what you can delegate. Anytime you can have someone help you with the smaller items, you'll have more time to the most important tasks, the ones that make the most money for you. You can spend the time to rate these in order of importance but the bottom line is that, most likely, they are all important so start with the item that you are most ready to work on.

Many people get trapped into the "big picture" tasks but fail to realize that any big task is really many smaller tasks. When you break down these large projects it feels much easier to tackle.

When you finish a task, reward yourself by actually crossing it off the list. Actually putting pen to paper and crossing through what you have written holds great satisfaction and you'll have a visual way to remind yourself how far you've come.

Using a desktop or palm time tracking system can help you better determine where time goes during the day. Keeping a time log every day for one week will give you a really good picture of how you spend your time and where adjustments need to be made.

Time tracking also helps when billing clients, which will improve revenue because you're more accurate with the time spent. And when quoting future work, you'll know how long the task has taken before so you can give more accurate estimates.

There is no doubt that by scheduling, using to do lists, and tracking time will increase your productivity in the coming year. But this is one new year's resolution that can be easy to follow and doesn't involve excessive sweating or depriving yourself of chocolate.

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