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Tips 2-5: Change the Way You Think About Time

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Stop Thinking Of Time As An Unlimited Commodity

Essentially, just as a closet is a limited space into which you must fit a certain number of objects, a schedule is a limited space into which you must fit a certain number of tasks. When you realize the actual limits of your time, you become much more selective about what you put into the "closet" of your day.


Create A Time Map

Subdivide your day into three blocks of time--morning, midday and afternoon--and decide what category of work you will tackle during each chunk of time. The regular structure creates mini-deadlines throughout the day that keep you focused on your goals and priorities. Here's how:

Set office hours: Say, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you like to jog or eat a leisurely breakfast, wake up early so that you can be ready to hit it by 8.

Divide your day into three parts: An example would be serving existing clients, marketing for new clients and taking care of administrative tasks. If you feel you have all day to do all things, you'll be less productive.

Keep a schedule:For example, devote 8 a.m. to noon to existing customers, 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. to marketing, and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. to tasks such as printing invoices and updating your contacts list. Look at it this way: In the morning, you're working to make money. In the afternoon, you're selling your business.

Dedicate 10 or 15 minutes at the end of each day to planning: Specifically think about what you will do in each of the three parts of the next day. Break projects into small steps: One morning can be devoted to polishing up Project A and getting halfway done with Project B.

Create three-day plans: Once you get used to planning a day ahead, start looking further down the road and update those plans at the end of each workday.


Group Similar Tasks

Batching your to-dos will allow you to build momentum and boost efficiency as you repeat each action. For example, doing a series of prospecting calls in a row saves time. With your sales "hat" on, your spiel gets clearer and sharper with each consecutive call. If you have several proposals to write, it's more efficient to blast through them sequentially rather than switch to financial activities in between.


Don't Write To-Dos In A Million Places

Scattering your tasks and reminders between a variety of Post-its, notepads, planners and applications is a recipe for confusion. Hours are wasted transferring information, second-guessing what to do next, and living in fear of what might be forgotten. Commit to one single, consistent system. Once you get into the habit of writing everything down in a single location, you'll stop worrying that you're forgetting something and will be able to concentrate on getting things done