Time Management: 25 Tips

Have you got too much to do and too little time to do it? Here are Blue Pencil Institute's top 25 time management tips for busy career professionals. We offer programs, products, and coaching to help you feel more fulfilled, rewarded, and enthusiastic about the work you do every day. Please visit our website at www.bluepencilinstitute.com and read our blog, Blue Pencil Sharpener™ at www.bluepencilinstitute.com/blog.
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Develop a do-it-now habit. Don't procrastinate. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don't start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Take advantage of your commute time, travel time, and waiting time to get things done. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Keep telephone conversations brief. Discuss the business up front. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Don't shuffle papers. Handle each item once whenever possible. Do it, scrap it, file it, delegate it, or schedule time to do it later. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Dr. Laura Hills, Blue Pencil Institute

Keep a diary of your thoughts, conversations, and activities for one week. Use your diary to help you assess where your time is going. Determine how much of your time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations, and actions. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Dr. Laura Hills, Blue Pencil Institute

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. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Don't allow upward delegation. Ask for solutions, not problems. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Set a deadline on every task you delegate. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Have meetings that start on time, end on time, and have a timed agenda. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Be realistic. We often put too many tasks on our to-do list or we grossly underestimate the amount of time a project is going to take. If you're not good at estimating how long projects will take, measure your performance against your estimations. The more you do this, the better you'll become at estimating your time realistically. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Put up a "Do Not Disturb" sign when you absolutely have to get work done. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Limit distractions. Block out time on your calendar for big projects. Close your door and turn off your phone, social media, and e-mail. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Don't write when a quick phone call or email will do. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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De-clutter. If your workspace is a mass of post-it notes, scribbled to-do lists and stacks of paper, a cleanup is in order. Clean out your office and put your desk right so you'll have an orderly space in which to do your work. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Spend time each week on time investments -- those activities that will help you free up more time. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Decide if you’re a racehorse or a tortoise. A racehorse is someone who thrives on the overload. Having lots to do is what really gets a racehorse’s adrenaline pumping. A tortoise is someone who functions best at a more measured pace. Racehorses and tortoises can accomplish just as much in this world. They just do it differently. If you’re a racehorse, bunch as many activities together as possible. But if you’re a tortoise, spread them out. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Concentrate and focus your energy on one activity at a time. Check it off your list. Then move on to the next activity. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. A healthy lifestyle can improve your focus and concentration, which will help improve your efficiency so that you can complete your work in less time. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Keep the amount of time you spend on a project in proportion to the project's importance. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Choose your friends and associates wisely. Some people will require more of your time than others. Evaluate your relationships. If certain people take up too much of your time for reasons you don't like, think about how to reduce contact. Do you have a friend who calls you at work a lot or an associate who chats too much? Find better ways to focus your energy. Surround yourself with people who'll support your success -- not those who sabotage your productivity. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Recognize that you can't do everything. Work on the 20% of the activities that produce 80% of your results. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Be in control of your own life. Don't let others' lack of planning become your crisis. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Recharge your batteries and have some fun. A life of all work and no play can ultimately erode productivity. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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Learn to say “no”. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Consider your goals and schedule before agreeing to take on additional work. www.bluepencilinstitute.com

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