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Get it All Done and Stay Sane!

"There aren't enough hours in the day."
"I can't seem to get caught up." or
"Here it is the end of the day and I haven t even begun what I had planned to do?"

Then you are definitely not alone. Interestingly, we all seem to suffer from similar time challenges, regardless of the business we operate. The most common reason is what I call time thieves - anything that prevents you from accomplishing your objectives effectively.

After years of studying how we use our time and presenting workshops for major industries and professions, I have discovered ten major time thieves. By conquering them, it's possible to get the truly important things done even though we may not get to everything.

Taking charge of your time starts with knowing how to establish priorities so you don t fritter away time on unimportant activities that could be left undone or delegated. Someone said, Everything I have to do is top priority! Not everything on your to-do list can be of equal significance. Something has to come before the rest. With the right tools, it's possible to differentiate between which tasks must be done now and which can wait. Consider two aspects: importance and urgency. Importance has to do with outcomes and consequences. In other words, is it vital and what will it cost me or my business if it doesn't get done? Urgency relates to time frames. Is there a deadline? By considering both simultaneously, it's possible to rank each daily task.

Start with a master to-do list Consolidate all your scraps of paper, memo slips and phone messages. This becomes an on-going, scratch and carry list of everything that may need to be done someday. Next, prioritize each item and create your daily action plan by selecting the most important and urgent. Remember, your to-do-list and your daily action plan are not the same. A master list could be pages long. A daily plan has only those activities that you can reasonably handle in a day. Attempting too much and not recognizing your capacity is the primary reason for frustration.

In conclusion, we think we need more time, but both winners and losers in business have 24 hours a day. It's not the number of hours that counts. With better time habits it will be as though you have been magically given an extra hour every day. Soon you'll realize you are no longer drowning in chaos before lunch, spinning your wheels all afternoon and going home totally exhausted. It's possible to finish your day with a sense of accomplishment, knowing you have progressed toward your ultimate goals!

Adapted from the book, With Wings, There Are No Barriers 1997, by Sue Augustine (Pelican Publishing) Sue Augustine is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and a contributing author to the #1 New York Times bestseller, Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul.



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