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10 Ways to Create More Time in Your Day

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Not enough hours in the day to get it all done? Make sure you're using your time wisely. Follow these ten time management techniques to find extra hours you didn't even know you had.

September 2011

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Time management seems to be an issue in almost everyone's life. There are never enough hourse in the day and our task lists get further and further behind.

Regardless of the job you do one things is certain there is no magic pill to complete everything by the end of each week. The tips below are to assist you get at least one hour back per day and I know they have helped me to find the time to complete a few extra tasks between answering 50-60 email per day.

Here are several time management tips that will help you to use those few precious hours that you do have wisely;

Tip No 1 - Organise Better

The first and probably most important step is to get better organised. One thing I learnt is that we need to get into a habit of handeling it one. If you use an electronic system or a manual system we all need to get better organised.

Just think about the time wasted

  • Looking for Phone numbers
  • Finding that slip of paper you wrote the note on
  • Sorting your desktop
  • Filing important reminders

Before you start work each day it would be a great idea to use the first 15 minutes of each day to start organising your work area. In less that a week you will be surprised just how much you actually throw out.

Go over your “To-Do” list and prioritise the job that need to be completed today and do those first. This will then leave you to get 1 or 2 items from tomorrows list.

Tip No 2 - When is your most productive time

Most of us have a time when we work better than others. I find best in the evening after 8:00pm after I have had a rest for an hour.

  • You may be a morning person and like many do all of your most difficult tasks before starting your daily routine.
  • If you have kids it is often when they are not around. Maybe even try to get them to bed 15 minutes earlier.

Tip No 3 - Make a “to-do” list for tomorrow

If you know what you can achieve write down these things like 10 calls, 3 meetings etc.

  • Know what you will accomplish the next day. That way, you start out with a goal in mind first thing in the morning rather than wandering around aimlessly.
  • Divide your "To Do" list into several sections: one list for things to do tomorrow, this week, and one for things to do this month. As you accomplish these goals, cross them off. I write my monthly goals on my calendar.

Tip No 4 - Find an extra 30 minutes per day

Need an extra 30 minutes per day?

  • Go to bed a little earlier
  • Get up 30 minutes earlier and have your first cup of coffee or tea sitting at the computer going through your e-mails, answering your e-mails and posting to forums. I call these my "day wasters".
  • When you go to look at emails limit the times and then close Outlook till the next scheduled time. You will be surprised just how much time we all waste scanning emails.

Tip No 5 - Stick to your schedule

Write one thing that you will accomplish on each day of the week on your calendar. An example of this might include:

  • Monday update website or blog
  • Wednesday complete incomplete proposals
  • Friday - Finish filing in the morning.

Tip No 6 - Avoid the hugh “day wasters”

We all are now involved in many social mediums so whihc waste a lot of our day include:

  • Forums, TV, surfing the web, and talking on the telephone are all huge "day waters" if not used properly. These are all great things, when used in moderation, but can become very addicting and you can seriously lose hours and hours of your day with all of them.
  • Limit your "day wasters" to the morning hour of your day. This is a huge time management tip!
  • Don’t leave social media open as the temptation to “just take a look” is too great for most of us.

Tip No 7 - Household chores and house cleaning

  • Clean one thing every day. Clean the kitchen one day, vacuum one day, clean the bathrooms one day..... Wash one load of cloths every day.
  • Load the washer the night before. Start the load of cloths washing as you head to the coffee pot first thing in the morning. Dry the load while you are doing your other household chores, then hang and put it away. One load is so much more manageable than three!
  • Make your bed and do the dishes before you "go to work". Tidy the night before so that you wake up to a neat house and are ready to start working.

Tip No 8 - Double Duty

  • Do you sit in the carpool line for half an hour? Read your longer e-mails, or newsletters that you have printed out from your computer. Read your mail that you saved for this time.
  • Do you have a small child? Try to schedule time for work and time for play. I work most of the morning, fix lunch and then we head outside. We play for a while and then I sit outside while our daughter swings or rides her bike and use this time to read, study or draft ideas for my newsletter, jewelry or website.
  • Have your smaller children do their daily reading while you are cooking. I have my 1st grade daughter sit on the kitchen counter and read to me while I am cooking. I can hear her read, and can help her with any words that she is having problems with.
  • Have your child do their homework while you are cleaning up the dinner dishes. This way you are already in the kitchen and can help if your child needs it.

Tip No 9 - Learn how to say “No”

I have run into the problem of people (partner is my biggest diversion!) assuming that since I often work from home I have time to do a bunch of things around the house. If I have a full week I simply tell them that my week is overbooked as it is and I can not do it.

Tip No 10 - Avoid interruptions

  • Let the answering machine pick up your phone calls during stratigic times in the day.
  • Do your call backs while you are sitting outside with your kids or sitting in your car in the carpool line. Look back on the Double duty tip
  • Turn e-mail off. Only check your e-mail in the morning, at lunch and at the end of your day. E-mail is a major interruption.
  • •If you are trying to work at home, explain to family and friends that you have work to do and will not be available between the hours of 8-4 but would love to hear from them after that. You choose your hours.

By following a few of these simple time management suggestions, you should have another hour or two of time in your day to run your business or to just spend it enjoying your family.

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