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How not to let summer get away from you

August 05, 2005|by LYNN F. LITTLE

Summer is probably going by faster than you expected, and your list of tasks to be done might be getting longer instead of shorter.

Time demands vary from person to person and family to family. To effectively manage one's time and accomplish all that needs to be done, the following tips are suggested:

  • Take time to think and plan - organize in a way that makes sense to you.

  • Choose goals which are specific, measurable, realistic and achievable. Goals can give creative people a much needed sense of direction.

  • n Prioritize time to concentrate your work on those items with the greatest reward.

  • Use a to-do list. Some people thrive on a daily to-do list; others combine it with a calendar or schedule, while others keep a running list. Choose the system that works best for you.

  • Be flexible. Allow time for interruptions and distractions. It is suggested to plan for 50 percent of your time and leave the other 50 percent to handle interruptions and emergencies.

  • Consider your biological prime time. Are you a "morning person" or a "night owl"? When do you accomplish the most? Knowing your best time and using the time to accomplish your tasks will help you manage time effectively.

  • Do the right things right. Doing the right things is effectiveness; doing things right is efficiency. Focus first on effectiveness and then concentrate on efficiency.

  • Eliminate the urgent. Urgent tasks have short-term consequences. Work at reducing the things you must do so you'll have time for the priorities.

  • Practice the art of intelligent neglect. Eliminate the trivial tasks or those that do not have long-term consequences.

  • Avoid being a perfectionist. Perfectionism - paying unnecessary attention to detail - can be a form of procrastination.

  • Conquer procrastination. When you avoid a task, sometimes it helps to break it into smaller tasks and/or set a time limit to complete the tasks.

  • Learn to say no. A small word but hard to say. Focus on your goals and saying no to the unimportant things in life will get easier.

  • Reward yourself. Celebrate your achievements of goals. Promise yourself a reward for a job completed and then make sure you indulge in the reward. Doesn't an ice cream or yogurt cone sound like a good reward in this warm summer weather?


Now is the time to make a plan for tasks to be completed. Remember to involve your whole family in larger tasks - and don't forget the rewards. Have a productive late summer.

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

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