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How to Use Your Time Wisely

Two Methods:Evaluating Your TimeEffectively Managing Your Time

Are some days a constant race against the clock? If so, you're probably overstretched and wondering how you'll be able to accomplish everything. Or maybe you're stuck in a rut and tired of how you're spending your time. Whatever the reason, learn to become more efficient with your time, manage your work or school load, and enjoy the time you already have.

Method 1
Evaluating Your Time

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    Determine how you spend your time. There are a variety of ways to do this. Try keeping a log or journal for several days. Or make a chart or graph illustrating how your time is spent. Be sure to keep track of everything that's taking up your time: sleep, work, eating, chores, school, etc.
    • Be honest with yourself here. This will show you how best to manage your time, especially if you find yourself upset at spending so much time in one area of your life.
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    Write down goals. Now that you know where your time is going, how would you like it to be spent? Mainly, what do you want to change about your current routine? If you noticed any wasted time, start by making a goal to address it.[1]
    • For example, if you found yourself spending several hours responding to pointless emails, taking extra breaks, or waiting for things, make it a goal to rescue that wasted time.
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    Prioritize your goals. This doesn't have to be incredibly detailed. Just rank your goals in the order in which you'd like to complete them. Try to put at least 30 percent of your weekly time towards accomplishing a goal.[2]
    • Re-evaluate your goals periodically. You may find after accomplishing some tasks that your priorities have shifted. Don't be afraid to alter your goals or plans.
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    Plan your time. Give yourself a manageable range of time and make a list of the goals you must accomplish. Keep a separate list of things you'd like to get done. Then, look at your week and assign tasks for each day that get you closer to achieving your goals.
    • Remember to include time for family, relaxation, or personal time. While you don't need to detail what you'll be doing, you should be sure to block out the time.
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    Realize that your time is valuable. Don't allow your schedule to fill up with things that don't get you closer to your goals or that don't make you happy. If something seems like a waste of your time, try to cut it short or get out of it.
    • Likewise, don't feel like you have to accomplish everything yourself or it won't be done correctly. You'll most likely need to learn how to trust and let go in order to accomplish your tasks.[3]

Method 2
Effectively Managing Your Time

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    Start with your most important goal. This may be easy to determine if a big deadline is looming or a big event is coming up. Put the bulk of your energy towards completing the vital task, before moving on to less important items.[4]
    • Work on your biggest project at the time of day when you have the most energy. For some, this may be first thing in the morning. Others are night owls. Find what works for you and don't waste that valuable energy.
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    Say no. Don't feel guilt tripped into doing something you don't want to do. Job expectations aside, you shouldn't feel like you always have to agree to doing things. While simple requests might not seem like a big deal, they can pile up, leaving you overwhelmed and struggling to accomplish your actual goals. Learn to say no, without feeling guilty.
    • Don't feel like you have to explain yourself or give an excuse. Simply say that you can't do it, because it doesn't work out for you.
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    Multitask smartly. While multitasking sounds like a great way to manage time, it's actually difficult to successfully pull off. Stick to multitasking when it comes to thoughtless jobs (laundry, dishes, making meals, etc).[5] Don't try to write a memo while reading an article and talking on the phone. In other words, allow your mind to focus on one task at a time, preferably at a time of day when you work the best.[6]
    • For example, don't wait to do your homework at 2 am, when you're normally sleeping. If you realize your best window of working time is from 4 to 5 in the afternoon, plan to do it then.
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    Be prepared. Don't let meetings, appointments, or deadlines surprise you. If you're prepared and have planned them into your day, they'll be more beneficial than if you were unprepared.[7]
    • When planning for a specific event, try to estimate how long it should take. If you find yourself going over time, try to wrap up the event or ask for another appointment.
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    Delegate or ask for help. You may find that you have too many goals or tasks to accomplish. Try delegating responsibilities to co-workers or your family. This will free up valuable time for you to work on other projects or give you extra free time.[8]
    • Getting help will also provide you with people that check in on you. This can help you stay focused on the work you're doing while they're accomplishing their assigned tasks. Thank them and tell them how much you were able to get done with their help.[9]
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    Remove distractions. This is increasingly hard to do. If you find yourself having trouble completing tasks, try turning off your cell phone, signing out of all social media sites, turning off the television, and go someplace quiet. You'll find that being able to focus on one task may increase your efficiency.[10]
    • Clear a visual space for work. This may be your desk, your office, or a room in your house. Having a clutter-free space will keep you from being distracted.
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    Reward yourself. If you've accomplished several goals or become more focused on your tasks, give yourself a small reward. This could be something as simple as a small personal break in the day, time out with friends, or allowing yourself extra sleep in the morning.


  • If you find yourself struggling to get things done, don't be afraid to ask for help. Ask a family member or friend to assist you, or hire a professional to help around the house for a bit.

Article Info

Categories: Boredom Busters