Time is a valuable resource and we only get 24 hours of it each day, no matter what. Therefore it is crucial that in this busy world, we use it effectively and efficiently as much as possible. But for that to happen requires a lot of discipline and motivation on our part. 

Learning how not to waste precious time is nothing but managing your own behavior. Being organized and firm in sticking to your own rules will save you from finding yourself running out of time for something very important.

Here are some simple ways to keep you from wasting time and help you find that extra time for yourself.

1. Abandon time wasters

The evils of the modern age includes being connected and staying connected. Mobile phones and the Internet make people open to distractions and even make them too accessible for comfort. How many times have you found yourself interrupted in an important meeting by the ringing of a phone?

The Internet and easy access to social media are hard to resist and are often nothing but huge time wasters. So if you want to make your day more productive and meet your work and personal goals, then stay away from Facebook or Twitter and disconnect instant messaging and log off.

You don’t have to respond to any email, pop ups or calls right away unless it’s an emergency from work or family. Let your voicemail do the handling for you so you can decide who needs calling back. Don’t let yourself be an easy prey to idle chats.

2.  Set rules

Impose personal policies and develop the habit of isolating yourself when you need to work.

Accept no phone calls at specific time periods. Put a no disturb sign when it is absolutely imperative for you to work or meet a deadline. Let your family members know. It is also best to set time limits per task to compel you to concentrate well. 

Over time you’ll notice how efficient and effective you are becoming by setting limits and rules for yourself.

Those self-organizing rules can be taken broader too, for example:

  • Never go to a meeting without an agenda (either write one or ask for one)
  • If you are a writer, always keep content organized through calendars and higher-level strategy roadmap
  • Pick a few productivity tools from the list and try to make them part of your life

3. Use helpful time management tools

Keep a diary to not forget special tasks and appointments. Set an alarm when necessary to keep track of time and remind you that you have to  wrap up whatever you are doing now and prepare for the next tasks.

It may also be helpful to start using time management tools like Outlook to easily set changes or modify priorities should they need to.

I guess this section deserves a separate subheading because the following has been my main time management tool for years: email. So:

Use Email to Manage Your Time and Tasks

Here are a few life-saving tips on how to use email to organize yourself properly:

4. Set time to organize your work area.

Ever find yourself wasting time looking or remembering where your files  are or even where the paper clips are? Thus the importance of putting everything in its place and finding a place for everything.

Schedule a date entirely to organizing your workspace and that includes your computer. Rename files so they are easily searchable and place them in properly labeled folders.

5. Never wait

Of course there are times when we cannot help but be caught by circumstances that cause us to lose time say bad traffic. But don’t let it get to you.

Always take some kind of work with you may it be a report that you need to review, or a list pad to write your grocery  items. Make use of travel time and waiting periods and you’ll end up with more time for that much needed break.

Image source: Flickr by Kristian Bjornard (Under Creative Commons)