Prioritize your tasks. Time-consuming but relatively unimportant tasks can consume a lot of your day. Prioritizing tasks will ensure that you spend your time and energy on those that are truly important to you.
Only you can determine which tasks are most important, the exact same task for me may be at the bottom of my list, but you need to make it a priority because of our diffeent focus at the job. Regardless, the tasks that affect your career, your well-being, and your reputation need to be made high priority.
Say no to nonessential tasks. Consider your goals and schedule before agreeing to take on additional work.
Delegate. Take a look at your to-do list and consider what you can pass on to someone else. Perfectionists (myself included) have the hardest time with delegation because we are afraid no one else will do the job right. Some tasks don’t need to be done to our specifications, they just need to be done. Delegate them. Review items on your list, are you truly the best person to handle them? Delegate them.
Do quality, timely work. Take the time you need to do a quality job. Doing work right the first time may take more time upfront, but errors usually result in time spent making corrections, which takes more time overall. Do it right the first time, and you won’t have to do it again.
Break large, time-consuming tasks into smaller tasks. Work on them a few minutes at a time until you get them all done. Don’t keep putting off starting a task because it seems to large to complete in the time you have available. Practice the 10-minute rule. Work on a dreaded task for 10 minutes each day. Once you get started, you may find you can finish it.
Limit distractions. Block out time on your calendar for big projects. During that time, close your door and turn off your phone, pager and e-mail.
Evaluate how you’re spending your time. Keep a diary of everything you do for at least a week to determine how you’re spending your time. Look for time that can be used more wisely. Note that this diary is not the work journal I referred to in Tip 1. This is a diary of EVERYTHING you do, from how long you spend getting ready for work each morning and how long/what you did on your commute, to how much time you watched TV when you got home. At the end of the week, review it. Look for ways to improve your habits to provide yourself more time for whats truly important to you. You may be surprised to find just how muh time you can free up for yourself each day.