Results of time management incentives are almost immediate

August 06, 2004|by LYNN F. LITTLE

If everyone's day has 24 hours, why does it seem like other people have more time?

The reality, of course, is that everyone has the same amount. Learning basic time management skills can, however, free up some time for activities and interests.

Time management is similar to money management. The concepts are easy to implement, and the results are almost immediate.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, start with small changes. As an example, people who readily identify prime time with television might not realize that they also have their personal prime time, an hour or more during the day when they are most productive. Identifying your prime time and learning to use it productively can free up time for other activities.

Some time-saving tips:

  • Prioritize. Identify what's most important and move it to the top of the list.

  • Try to do the least pleasant task first. It may not take less time, but it is likely to save time. Once the job is done, it's not necessary to spend time thinking about it.

  • Learn to say no. Consider what can be accomplished realistically, and turn down additional requests.

  • Learn to delegate. Others may not do the job exactly as you might, but the fact that they're doing it allows you time for other activities and interests.

  • Minimize paperwork. Sort the mail the same day it is received; place bills and other mail that needs a response in one place.

  • Reconsider your routine. Perhaps doing a load of laundry each morning or evening can free up Saturday morning.

  • Be flexible. Ask yourself whether or not this still is important If not, move on to your next priority.

  • Give yourself a small reward for accomplishing your tasks.

The purpose of improving your time-management skills is to make time for the most important things. Look for balance among responsibilities at home and work, and fun time for yourself and others. Learning to use your time wisely should result in more satisfaction with your life, not just a longer list of tasks finished.


Lynn F. Little is a family and consumer sciences educator with Maryland Cooperative Extension in Washington County.

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