Monday, August 22, 2011

Using Time Wisely

“Better three hours too soon, than one minute too late.” ~~William Shakespeare~~

Using my time wisely sometimes involves making tough choices. The things I want to do are not always the things I need to do in order to keep appropriate forward momentum. The things I need to do are not always the things other people want me to do. Regardless of who wants me to, or whether or not I want to, I know what I need to do to get the job done!

The best way I have found so far in making sure I get the most out of the hours in the day is simple planning. I, personally, have returned to the handwritten planner. Outlook, or some other calendar, day timer or notebook would work just fine. Here’s what I do.

1. I set up categories – sections for each activity in which I am actively involved. I have 3 different sections for work, as I wear many hats. I also have a section for the non-profit I am a board member for, a section for my SendOut Cards business, a section for a networking organization I help run, and a section for personal items.
2. I set up a system where I can identify things that need to happen within each category, and assign them a priority. High, not as high (because nothing is ever a low priority, right?), and things to keep in mind.
3. I have a section for phone calls I need to make/return and a section for non-specific follow up, as well as room to take notes.
4. At the top of the page I determine what my major goal is for the week, and then I make sure that the things I put in the high priority section will help me actually achieve that goal. When those are done, I can move on.

Since I know what my goals are, and I know the tasks and action steps required to get to closer to my goals, it’s easier to make the tough choices. It’s clear where I need to spend my time and put forth the most effort. And, the best part about it is that when I see I have achieved a goal, and am able to cross something off the priority list as an accomplishment, I have a small success to celebrate, which helps keep me motivated!

What tools do you use to be sure you use your time wisely?

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