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6 Management Tools for Everyday Living

By • Nov 16th, 2007 • Category: Featured Articles, Productivity, Time Management

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Time management is not about squeezing more tasks and activities into your day. It is about getting the important things done. It is also about learning to do things efficiently so you can ultimately accomplish more. Because time is constant, the only thing that makes it valuable is how we use it.

Yes, we’re busy. It’s a fact of life. Nevertheless, we can take care of our work and home duties without the usual attendant stress if we learn to use the following tried and proven management tools.

1) Prioritize – Use lists to plan your day. It’s a simple tool that helps you to prioritize your duties and maximize your time. Don’t make a running list of things to do, but group them by level of priority. Crossing tasks off your list feels good.

2) Delegate – This is easy when you’re the boss and it’s your job to direct and coordinate people and projects. But if you take this concept from the office to home, you can dish out several chores as effortlessly as any corporate manager.

Family members can run an errand or two, set the table for dinner, and help keep your home clean. This is one of the best ways to teach children responsibility and get time for yourself, with your spouse, and for leisurely activities you may want to pursue.

3) Limit interruptions – Don’t have an all-day open door policy. Close shop for an hour or two each day and let the telephone operator or your secretary screen your calls while you give undivided attention to urgent projects.

Manage your home the same way, by concentrating on the task at hand and blocking out all the distractions. Let the voice mail, answering machine, or family member be your secretary. Turn off your cell phone when you exercise at home or at the gym, during movies, dinner, and other “quality times”.

4) Consolidate – By limiting interruptions during the day, you can focus on the immediate project or problem, and then you can proceed to other duties. For example: once your voice mail has collected all those calls from clients and co-workers, and after your report has been written, you’re free to tackle those message in one big time block.

At home, run errands on one day of the week, rather than going back and forth over several days. You’ll save gas, finish several tasks in one fell swoop, and accumulate some hidden time for other items on your to do list.

5) Organize your surroundings – Do you have to clean up and organize your desk and filing cabinet every morning? That wastes time that could be spent getting right into the work of the day. Jump start tomorrow’s work by leaving your office ready for action.

Return files to the filing cabinet. Place related documents in the relevant trays. Stick pens, pencils and other supplies in designated holders or drawers. Take your coffee cup back to the kitchen and wash it.

Likewise, in your home, take a few moments to tidy up before you leave. you don;t have to vacuum or dust, just a quick neaten things up and you’re ready to go.

Nothing beats walking through your door after a hectic day to counter and table tops clean and clear of clutter. Even if you don’t have time to wash the dishes, rinse off foodstuff, stack them neatly in the sink and squirt some dish-washing liquid to leave a fresh scent. Move stuff from the living room floor and straighten cushions on the chairs. My mother’s daily reminder to “never leave home without making your bed” has become my trademark. I don’t even stay at home without making my bed. A tidy home eases stress and tiredness off your shoulders at the front door and replaces it with tranquility.

6) Take breaks – Are you guilty of attacking your lunch and washing it down with a large drink? Not a pretty picture. Train yourself to chew your food and eat slowly. Learn to taste and savor the flavors in each morsel. Relax and mingle with co-workers for the rest of the lunch break, take a walk or drive to the mall for some window-shopping. Coffee and lunch breaks were invented for a reason use them.

Don’t fill your evenings, day-offs or weekends with household chores. Have a leisurely breakfast, plan your lunch and dinner menu, and chore list then proceed to work. Stop and sit down to a delicious and healthy lunch. Linger for a while to chat or play with your children, then return to your chores. Later, at a reasonable time, stop, shower, grab your favorite beverage and enjoy some personal R & R.

These tools are not new, but it’s good to remind ourselves of what’s important and how to manage our time in a smarter and more efficient way. They help us to take our daily and even occasional tasks, projects and chores in stride and zip through them like a pro, leaving us ample time to put our feet up and enjoy the fruits of our labors.

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6 Responses »

  1. I need to learn

    6) Take breaks

    really great tips by the way

  2. Hi Koozies,
    I appreciate your taking the time to leave a comment.

    Try the advice outlined under that point. Good luck with this.


  3. I need to learn how to organize — sometimes I don’t bother because it takes up time, and everything will become messy again anyway. It actually saves time though, cuz I waste so much time trying to look for things I can’t find. Thanks for the tip. – Abby

  4. Hello Abby,

    Nice to hear from you. Being organized is a learned habit. If you take on a whole room in the beginning you can easily become overwhelmed, discouraged and finally just quit.

    Try organizing one small area of a room – desktop, shelf or closet. Make a pact with yourself to keep the area organized and tidy for a while. Then move on to another area, a larger space.

    Tackling one small area or room at a time will help you build the discipline and satisfaction of seeing and functioning in an organized space.

    Good luck.

    Cheryl Wright

  5. Hi Jenna,

    Once we learn to master that first point, we usually find it easier to work on the others.


  6. Hello Pink Potter,

    Thanks for leaving a comment.

    Good for you. that “phone call window” really frees up time to attend to our other commitments.


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