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Six Easy Steps to Managing Time Effectively - by Richard Quek

Ever wonder why some people accomplish so much in a day while you can't seem to get anything done at all? Maybe, just maybe, these people are able to allocate their time better than you do. Managing your time might seem to be an overwhelming task, but fear not: when you know what to do and what to prioritize, you will be able to schedule your day more efficiently.

  1. Make a List. List down all the things that need to be accomplished. Examples are: studying for an exam, going to a gym session, picking up the laundry. Whatever task you need to get done, always start with listing them down. Seeing them lined up helps you keep these tasks in mind. Committing tasks either to paper, the PDA, the computer's calendar or the cellphone's to-do list also helps you tick off these tasks as they get done.

  2. Prioritize. Once you have written down the things to do, start ranking the entries according to the most important or the most urgent. Prioritize the tasks according to the time/deadline by which you have to do the task. If some tasks have do not have a deadline, prioritize according to the most important, or the most profitable. Knowing what to prioritize will keep stress away because you know you are in control of your day.

  3. Set the Timer. After prioritizing, make a clear deadline on every activity that you will do before you get overwhelmed and forget the other things that need to be done. For example, allot two hours for going to the gym, one hour to do the groceries, thirty minutes to eat dinner, then dedicate the rest of your time to studying until 10:00 P.M. or whenever you want to end your day.

  4. Discipline Yourself. Once you have started something, have the discipline to finish it. Hemorrhaging hours away watching TV or being on the phone is a good way to get derailed when you have more important things to do. If you have set a specific time limit for an activity, stick to it unless you really need to extend.

  5. Stop procrastinating. Although relaxing is a good way to pause from all your activities, doing it excessively would definitely have you crying over lost hours.Say "No." Stop overloading yourself. If you are simply overbooked, then simply say "No." Be kind to yourself. You only have 24 hours a day, and no matter how good you are in managing your time, if your schedule is already full, squeezing in more would simply be torture.

  6. Make it a Habit. Sticking to your plan may be easier said than done, but you can make it feasible if you will stretch your patience a bit. Sure, itís hard to juggle all your activities given only 24 hours in a day, but once you make it a habit to plan every activity, then stick to your schedule; it will be easier on you in the long run.

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