The following is a guest post from Dr. Laura Aridgides from OrganizeNOW:
In today’s busy world, many people struggle with getting everything done. One of the most frequently heard requests is to “just have more time.” While we all have the same 24 hours a day, only you can decide how you will spend your time.
Since I coach people on time management and organization for a living, the complaint I hear the most is, “I don’t have enough time to do what I want to do.” Well, while I can’t waive my magic wand and give you more time, I can help you use the time you have more efficiently.
Here are my top 7 “secrets” to saving time:
- Plan each day on paper before the day begins. Did you know that Ben Franklin planned his day this way? Alec Mackenzie says in his book The Time Trap that, “a daily plan in writing is the single most effective time management strategy, yet not 1 in 10 does it.” Take time to look at what your next day will bring. Be proactive in scheduling, instead of reacting to what happens.
- Develop time management systems. One of the things that I do that has a lifelong impact is to teach others how to incorporate systems in their life. With a good foundation including organization and time management systems, everything runs more smoothly, and you can get more done.
- Learn what your time wasters are. This is a big one. We all have time wasters. The phone and email are two of the biggest, and the good news is that they are also two of the easiest to fix. Find out what your time wasters are and take steps to eliminate them.
- Use the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule states that 20% of your effort gives you 80% of your results, and vice versa. So, focus on the 20% of your effort that will give you the biggest impact. You can apply this rule to your “to do” list, and focus on the top 20% of your activities that will give you the biggest value.
- Clear out the clutter. We all function more efficiently when there is minimal clutter. So, take time to clear the clutter out of your home and life. Simplify.
- Follow the 2-minute rule. Here is a rule that has a dramatic impact when you do it consistently. If an action item comes in that needs to be done, and it will take you less than two minutes to complete, do it right away! Only action items that will take longer than two minutes should be scheduled.
- Always ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time?” Throughout the day, ask yourself that question, and if the answer is “no,” then you need to make a change and do something else that will be of greater value to you. Remember that sometimes the best use of your time is just sitting and playing with your children or reading a good book. And sometimes it is tackling that project that you know you need to do, that you keep putting off, that will have a big impact on your future.
I encourage you to pick one of these “secrets” and start implementing it in your life, so that you can have more time to do what is important to you.
Dr. Laura Aridgides is an organization and time management expert. In addition to running a successful direct sales business and a network marketing business for over 10 years, she is CEO of OrganizeNOW. OrganizeNOW specializes in helping home-based business owners and self-employed entrepreneurs increase productivity and profit in their businesses by teaching them how to incorporate systems that will make them more organized, and effective with their time.