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Identify Time-Suckers

Cutting wasted time from your day is like cutting extra calories from your diet. First identify where the time is going. Commit to keeping an accurate record (down to 5-minute increments) of your schedule for the next week.

Be specific. Instead of labeling 3 hours as “planned trade show,” list how long you were on the phone versus writing memos. Don’t forget to mark the 15 minutes listening to Sara’s latest blind date nightmare.

At the end of the week, total the categories.

Just knowing how much time you’re spending on personal e-mail, phone calls, and cruising the Web might be enough to break the habit. Yes, everyone deserves an occasional break, but your goal is to spend less time at work. These elements add to your day--and to your stress level.

You don’t have to eliminate them completely; just minimize them. Keep non-work conversations to less than one minute. Check your e-mail hourly instead of every 5 minutes. Little changes make a big difference.

Now look at your work tasks. Do the most time-consuming items correlate directly to your job responsibilities? If you’re spending most of your week on tasks not within your job description, it’s time for a conversation with your boss.

Next, determine what tools or training can help reduce the time spent on job-related tasks. Do you have to share a computer? Could a course in PowerPoint help you create presentations more quickly? Make a list and present it to your boss.

 Identify Time-Suckers

 Plan Ahead

 

 Write Everything Down

 

 Stick to Your Priorities

 

 

 

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