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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Get More Hours In Your Day

Are you always late for appointments?
Do you seem to rush form one thing to another & there are never enough hours in your day?
If this sounds like you, read on & learn how to control your life instead of allowing time to control you.

Help yourself to remember.
If you are rushing back for essentials like your umbrella, put them near the front door.
Stick messages on the phone or fridge, or keep a special pad for noting things as they crop up.
Try not to rely on other people to remind you as they inevitably forget, too.

Don't try to be a hero.
Cut down your tasks to essentials & learn to delegate the rest to family & friends.
Bring too independent can be physically & mentally exhausting.
Write a diary of everything you'd like to achieve - & then halve it!

Manage your money.
If you spend ages wondering why you're overdrawn, you need to sit down & budget.
List all your incomes & expenditures each month, including incidentals e.g. birthday presents & entertainment, & allow extra for emergencies e.g. car breakdowns.
With this list, you'll be able to plan your cash flow accordingly.
Enter all your transactions (cheques written, deposits made, amounts of cash withdrawn) into your chequebook - to avoid a financial tangle later on.

Tidy up your home... as you go along.
How many times have you had to race around to clear up the house before the guests arrive?
The answer to a panic-free existence is to clean up things at once.
Rinse the mugs when you've finished with them.
Hang up clothes rather than throwing them over a chair.
Throw away newspapers or collect them for recycling.
Put books back on the shelves.
Most importantly, get everyone to follow the same code of tidiness.

Be prepared.
It's amazing how much time you can save if you think in advance about what you'll need.
Pack your bag the night before instead of in a last-minute scramble.
Decide what you're going to wear for that big evening a couple of days beforehand, rather than cramming hair-washing, ironing & make-up into a frantic half hour.
Choose what you're going to wear during the week, then wash & iron enough clothes over the weekend.
If you can't face coordinating so far in advance, invest in a suit or versatile shirt that can be worn several times with different accessories.
If your morning routine involves rifling through your wardrobe in search of one item of clothing, it's time for spring cleaning.
That means giving away or selling all those mistakes you bought at sales, things you'll squeeze into only if you lose 10 pounds, & anything that you've not worn for a year.

Divide your tasks.
Categorize tasks into what can be done today, tomorrow, or by someone else.
If there's still too much for you to do, don't panic.
Work out how to combine certain tasks or cut them down.
Use any spare time you may have on the weekends to get the next week planned.
Try not to be distracted by phone calls, long chats & constant interruptions that eat into your precious time & prevent you from doing solid work.

Plan your kitchen.
If your kitchen is poorly planned, you'll waste time going from one corner to the other.
Ideally, everything you need at a particular point should be at arm's length, such as washing-up materials by the sink, and tea & coffee near the kettle.
Keep your cupboards organized, so you can find anything from thyme to tuna immediately.
Try to wash up as you go when cooking - plates are much easier to wash before food has had time to congeal; even rinsing them first will save labour later.
Fill used pans with water until you can clean them properly.

Stock up your kitchen.
Keep your cupboards well-stocked to avoid wasting time rushing out to the shops for just one or two items.
Before going to the supermarket, check supplies and then arm yourself with a complete list & buy everything on it.
Always keep a few frozen meals in case of last minute guests.

Have realistic goals.
If you are constantly on the run, you'll wear yourself out.
Working late will only make you miserable & doing jobs quickly usually means they are poorly done.
So, be realistic about yourself, how quickly & intensively you work and how much you can really achieve in a day.

Pace yourself.
Even if you have tons of things to do, do only as much as you can at a time.
Take short breaks.
You may need to relax in the bath when you know you should be writing a letter.
But if you feel calmer after relaxing, it will make you far more efficient when it comes to writing the letter later.
Remember, flexibility is needed if you want to make the most of your time.

Allow for hold-ups.
Never underestimate how long your journey will take.
Start out a few minutes early.
It will make you feel so much better psychologically if you begin your day ahead.

Tackle paper work... before it swamps you.
Arm yourself with a box file, some coloured folders & felt-tip pens.
Devise a straight-forward filing system under simple categories like 'bank', 'car' or 'recipes', & colour-code or label them.
File things in chronological order rather than just dumping them in a folder.
An extra few seconds putting a paper in its logical place will save time & patience later.

Be disciplined.
A certain degree of discipline is needed to be able to cope with any job.
It creates a good impression as well as puts you in the right frame of mind to cope with the work ahead.
Don't allow colleagues to distract you form what you are doing - even if the gossip gets really interesting.
Get to work on time.
And always try & finish a job before you leave at night; it usually takes you twice as long in the morning.

Plan your social life.
Don't be afraid of saying 'no' when a friend asks you out when you've already planned for something else.
It's easy to fall into the trap of always accepting invitations for fear of risking unpopularity, so you end up with no time for yourself or the people you love most.
Friends will not take offence if you suggest an alternative date as long as you don't do that every time.
It's essential to give yourself private time - evenings & weekends when you can spend time pampering yourself with a long perfumed bath or alone with your man.
Many couples reserve one day or evening of the week free of engagements.
Sometimes it's the only way to recharge your batteries.

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