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Time management is about getting at least one important thing done every day, so commit to making this happen. Too often, your day can get cluttered when you lose the discipline of corporate priorities and planning. One can easily get blinded by household distractions or the easy-to-do work that can generate activity, but seldom results. Like you used to do in the office, qualify your activities and push the envelope to ensure it’s the right stuff for you to be focusing on. Always keep an up-to-date list of pending activities sorted by priority so you can make quick and easy decisions of what to do next. Your commitment to doing at least one great thing every day can really boost your productivity and give you laser focus to ensure you complete your tasks brilliantly. Make sure you highlight your day’s accomplishments so you celebrate the progress you are making. Continually assess and revisit activities because certain tasks—like networking at the same event or scanning the same job board—will lose value over time. Remember this is your future you’re betting on so you are on the hook to make every day great! If a planned activity doesn’t deliver results or your lack of discipline lets you down, find forgiveness quickly and then reschedule any missed tasks for the very next day.

Curt’s Keeper:
Don’t just do any task, always do the most important one!

Curt's In2Win! Afterthoughts

Making good use of your time is critical.  Desk activities are evening and weekend tasks.  This includes resume tweaks, follow up emails, and planning for the next week. REMEMBER: There are no weekends or holidays when you are looking for work.  If you plan on taking time off you need to make it up in advance. PLAY HARD!  WORK HARDER!!

Time Management Tips That Will Boost Your Productivity

01. Set clear goals

When creating a game plan for your business, we recommend thinking about two important aspects: setting a timeline and setting goals. While setting a timeline gives you an idea of how long it’ll take you, setting your goals allows you to focus your energy on the things you want to achieve. This automatically makes you more productive and allows you to plan your schedule efficiently. Think equally about your long terms plans and goals as well as your short term schedule. Dedicate 30 minutes out of your morning routine to go over your daily schedule. Challenge yourself by doing your toughest task first to get it out of the way.

02. Create a routine

Just like exercising, the more you stick to your routine, the easier it gets. Create a daily flow that works for you and keep it consistent. Whether you’re a morning person or night owl, plan your tasks in a way that you know you will be most productive and keep it the same throughout your week. Your body naturally responds to repetitive behavior and within no time, you’ll find yourself getting hooked!

03. Avoid distractions

Life is full of wonderful distractions. Your favorite TV show, your cat, text messages, Facebook, oh my! If you want to get the job done, preparation can help. For starters, get yourself used to the idea that the time you’ve scheduled is 100% dedicated to doing work. Close all irrelevant browser tabs, put your phone away, out of sight and on silent. Some people like listening to music while others enjoy a pre-meditation session to help get into the zone. Whether you work in a public space or at home, find a quiet spot where you feel comfortable in and get your butt to work!

04. Leave a buffer time between tasks

So you’ve become a lean, mean, working machine. That’s amazing! But don’t overdo it. The human brain can focus for about 90 minutes at a time, so giving your brain (and body) some cooling off time is equally important for productivity. Whether it’s stretching your legs for 20 minutes, grabbing a snack or cozying up with your pet, taking some time for yourself can make a big difference and improve concentration, not to mention, help you relax. You know when you’ll need a break.

05. Value your sleep

The average person needs around 8 hours of sleep for their body and mind to function optimally. According to research, people who have healthy sleeping habits are healthier, more productive and less stressed. The truth is, when you work, your brain accumulates a lot of information that is collected throughout your day. When sleeping, your brain switches into processing mode, taking all of that information and organizing it in a way that makes more sense. See? Even your brain knows the value of organizational skills. Listen to your body and value the amount of sleeping hours that work for you. Besides, your friends prefer you human rather than a zombie.

06. Get healthy

While you probably love pizza and takeout (because, who doesn’t, right?) deep down, you know it isn’t the healthiest option. Keeping your body healthy is equally important to your well being.

07. Ask for feedback!

So you’ve covered some ground and made progress when suddenly, you’re stuck. Big time. Focusing too long on an idea or assignment that you’re not sure of might put you behind schedule and waste valuable time, so, what are friends for if not to offer a lending hand? Ask for a second opinion and feedback to help steer you in the right direction. Applying this tip can actually help in the long run as you aren’t rehashing the same idea over and over again. Who knows, you might be given a different perspective you never thought of before.

08. Kick the clutter

Remember how your mom would always nag you to clean up your room when you were a kid? Annoying as it was, keeping your space organized and clean is a good life lesson to follow. Whether you’re a notebook or computer kind of person, make sure to keep everything nice and neat. Don’t lose valuable time by rummaging for a piece of paper. Throw away any rubbish, wash your coffee mug and organize your desk by using folders, dividers, highlighters and labels.

09. Don’t stress about failing

No one likes to fail. In fact, many of us fear the idea. Truth be told, spending time stressing about failing in the future is unproductive. The sooner you dive in, the sooner you know the outcome which of course, saves you hours of uncertainty. While it might sound strange, failing has a big role in success as it gives us an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and help us grow. If worrying is what’s stopping you – just do it! When it comes to your business, don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith.

10. Prioritize

One of the best ways to stay focused on accomplishing your goals is by prioritizing. Knowing how to prioritize work affects the time you spend on tasks and your overall success. Start off by creating a to-do list of tasks that need to get done. Make sure to order tasks by effort and begin planning your time accordingly. Creating a list will help you visualize your goals and determine what is actually most relevant, as well as most urgent (which isn’t necessarily the same thing).

11. Delegate

For those of us who like to be in control, the very thought of this is likely to provoke a bit of anxiety. That being said, no matter how much we’d hate to admit it, we can’t do everything ourselves. While you’re probably quite skilled in a number of areas, why not ask for help from people who are experts in their own field.  If there are things that can be better done by others, consider delegating. This will reduce your workload and allow you to be less stressed and more productive.

12. Know your limits (and when to say no!)

While there’s a bit of Superman (or Wonder Woman) in each of us, it’s still impossible to do everything. There will be times when an interesting business proposal or project pops up, and although the temptation is great, it’s important to know when to decline. Remember that there are certain sacrifices that need to be made if you want to accomplish your goals which also means, occasionally saying no.

Helpful Links to Consider

Have a career question?  Ask Curt

Books Worth Reading

Curt's In2Win Audio Clips

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