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Time is running out! Learn to catch up…

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We’re hard-wired to say yes, but part of time management is learning that every hour has value. If an opportunity arises that isn’t worth your while, turn it down. ”

  1. Turn off your notifications. Setting aside a couple of time slots each day for e-mail and social media accounts, to minimize distraction is highly advisable.
  2. Work less. Long hours can actually derail productivity. If you’re not allowing yourself enough “me time,” you’re possibly not doing your best work. Pencil a bit of non-work into your schedule and you’ll find yourself less inclined to fritter away work time.
  3. Set incremental deadlines for long-term tasks, especially gruelling ones. It’s easier to start a project when you see it as a series of smaller ones rather than one never-ending assignment.
  4. Group meetings together to allow for longer stretches of work time before and after. You’ll avoid wasting an afternoon broken into bits of time too short to be useful.
  5. Stay calm. Rushing through your to-do list can actually cost you extra time. As the old saying goes, haste makes waste. If you relax and think things through, your blood pressure and boss will thank you.
  6. Make every minute count. If there’s a flight or waiting room in your future, use that time to catch up on e-mail or read status reports.
  7. Break up your day. Divide your time into periods of focused work, such as research, and engaged work like replying to e-mails. Allotting 60 to 90 minutes for focused blocks and roughly 30 minutes for engaged periods is best for better productivity.
  8. Set boundaries to help you focus. If you work in an office, let your colleagues know you’re not up for chatting by putting on headphones or closing your office door if you have one.
  9. Get started in the morning by preparing your to-do list the night before. Write down three or four things you’d like to accomplish the next day before bed, and make those the first items you check off.
  10. Reward sprints of work with short breaks. Think of your brain as a muscle that needs some light stretching, and accept that you can’t run a marathon every day.
  11. Colour-code your calendar, giving each type of item-work, fitness or time with family and friends-a different colour in your planner. You’ll get a quick view of how you’re using your time and where you can do better.
  12. Productivity apps like RescueTime run on your computer and analyze how much time you’re spending on websites (read: the minutes you’re burning on Facebook and BuzzFeed). RescueTime generates a daily report to show how your accomplishments compare to previous days’ and can block distracting websites to save you from yourself.
  13. Learn to say no. We’re hard-wired to say yes, but part of time management is learning that every hour has value. If an opportunity arises that isn’t worth your while, turn it down.
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