Have you ever wondered how some people seem to get so much more done in a day than you do? Do you feel like you are working longer hours than ever, yet never seem to get to the bottom of your ‘To Do’ list? You are not alone.

The good news is that time management isn’t rocket science. By practicing a few basic time management principles, you can control your time instead of letting it control you. It’s easier than you think.

Did you know that 80% of the things you get done are accomplished in 20% of the time you spend working? So what are you doing the other 80% of the time? I don’t know, and you might not have a clear idea either, but here is what you could be doing:

Focus on your priorities. Do the big things first. Let the little things slide. Every time you do something unimportant, you are ignoring something that’s really important and filling your time with trivialities.

Be proactive not reactive. Plan what you need to do and when. Put it in your Outlook or diary or planner so you know you have a plan to complete your work. You have enough time to accomplish what you want to do, if you set goals and manage your time.

Plan your day. If you have no objectives for your day, you will accomplish very little. Plans guide you through the days distractions and keep you on course.

Schedule your tasks. A ‘To Do’ list is not a commitment to do anything, just a list of tasks that you need to complete. Any task on your list will not become a priority and you will not be committed to completing it, until you schedule time in your planner to actually do it.

Schedule appropriate tasks to the time you have allotted. Use smaller chunks of time to take care of short, easily completed tasks like returning telephone calls, opening the mail, filing, checking e-mail, etc. Use larger chunks of time for important action projects so that you can concentrate and make significant progress.

Stop procrastinating. We procrastinate for one of two reasons. Either we really don’t want to do something or we don’t know where to start. Identify why you are procrastinating and eliminate the cause. There is satisfaction in tackling the most difficult task first as then it’s not hanging over you, waiting to be completed.

Stop being a perfectionist. If you have the perfectionist streak, be aware that whatever you do, it is unlikely that it will ever be good enough. Be careful not to spend inordinate amounts of time on tasks that do not require it. Concentrate your time on where it is best spent.

Remember, where you will be in three to five years from now depends on what you are doing today, tomorrow and next week. We make conscious and unconscious decisions about how we spend our time. I challenge you to make the right decisions and to make each hour count!

If you would like coaching to help with your time management challenges, give us a call on 01736 339 384 or email HelloThere@sapiencehr.co.uk