That’s all we get each day. It is the great equalizer – the rich can’t buy any more, the elite don’t get an extra share, no apps exist that will extend the 1,440 minutes in a day.
The question, then, is how to make the best use of those precious hours. With the change to Daylight Saving Time looming on March 12 (when we “lose” an hour), now is a great opportunity to consider how to best manage your time.
Before starting to maximize your time, take a few days or even a week to record everything you do every minute of the day. This will help you determine how you’re utilizing your time now and will reveal your biggest time wasters.
Also before starting, determine what is truly important in your life and how to prioritize that. Many people claim the most important area of their life is family, then spend 70 hours a week at work, and many more at home preoccupied with thinking about work – with little actual time for family.
Once you have your time wasters in mind and your priorities organized, here are seven tips on making the most of your time.
Make a to-do list. Making a list the night before often helps you sleep better. Others prefer a list first thing in the morning. Either way, prioritize the items on the list. Not only will it help keep you organized, there’s a feeling of satisfaction every time you cross off a finished item.
Take small bites. The old adage is that the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Focusing on all the things that have to be accomplished can be paralyzing. Instead, focus on one item at a time.
Maximize your best time. Whether you work best in the morning, afternoon or late at night, try to place the most important tasks in those time slots, when possible.
Take a break. When on a deadline, it seems like the best strategy is to push as hard as possible. However, an occasional 10-15 minute break to take a walk or play Words with Friends or even a quick nap can refresh the body and mind so that you’re more effective later. This is especially true for people whose jobs require creativity.
Just say no. Saying no to a request may seem rude, but when you already have a full plate, adding one more task just won’t be possible. You may not have to say no to the new request, though; you may instead remove a current one that requires a lot of time without much benefit.
Limit interruptions. When in the middle of a vital project, close your door (if possible) and place your smart phone out of sight – callers with important needs will leave a message and most text messages don’t demand immediate responses. Check it every 30 minutes or so and respond only to the most critical messages then.