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How to manage your time effectively

Time management is about working smarter, not longer

All of us have the same amount of hours in a day and days in a week, so why is it that some people seem to be able to kick goals in all areas of their life while others never seem to clear their inboxes? It all comes down to making the best use of your time, which can be done in the following ways.

Set goals

If you know what you want to accomplish in a particular day, week, month or year you're less likely to allow your time to be chewed up by seemingly urgent but ultimately unimportant distractions.

Work out a schedule

If you know you've allocated your time to particular tasks you're more likely to get them done in an efficient manner, rather than finding your workday getting frittered away with chats about the footy and trips to the café to buy a round of coffees.

Look into ways you can shrink the amount of time you have to devote to routine tasks

Dealing with emails, returning phone calls and attending meetings are all massive drains on your time. Fortunately, there's lots of information available online about improving your personal productivity by managing these tasks cleverly (www.lifehacker.com.au being the most respected site among efficiency enthusiasts).

Be careful about what you say yes to

No matter how efficient you get, you'll still only have 24 hours in a day and you want to make sure you're devoting them to achieving what you want to achieve rather than allowing others to talk you into donating your valuable time to their projects. So if you're considering taking on an extra assignment at work, check whether it's going to advance your career in some way before agreeing to get involved.

Take time out to recharge

Time management is about working smarter, not longer. If you use your increased productivity to constantly take more and more on, you'll eventually burn out. Make sure you schedule periods where you can forget about accomplishing anything and just kick back and relax.