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How Can I Manage My Time Better?

  Come what come may, time and the hour runs through the roughest day. ~ William Shakespeare, MacBeth

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet some people just seem to get more done than others. Listed below are some tips to help you manage your time more effectively.

Set Your Goals

1. Have written short term and long term goals. Make sure when you plan each day that you devote some time to tasks that will move you ahead on your major goals in life.

Have a To Do List

2. Keep a long term and a daily to do list. Prioritize the tasks on your list. Alan Lakein, author of the classic time management book, How to Control Your Time and Your Life 1 , recommends labeling tasks with with an A, B, C system. Use an "A" priority for tasks with a high value, "B" for tasks with a medium priority and "C" for low priority tasks.

Trying out a new recipes that needs exotic ingredients may be fun, but does it match with your long term goals? If one of your long term goals is to be a chef or a great party host, then trying out new recipes may be an A priority for you. However, if your long term goals are to finish a masters' degree in biology or to improve your tennis game, then taking the time to try out to shop for ingredients and whip up a new recipe may be more of a C-type task.

Keep a Time Log

3. Some people find it beneficial to keep a time log, at least for a week or two, everything they do. This is especially helpful for people who always seem to be busy but never get around to the important tasks and never move forward on their A-priorities. Looking at a log in this case may be helpful to find out where your time has been spent and give you ideas for improvement. If you feel like you should be getting more things done and don't know where the time goes, then a log may help to identify problem areas. It may be that you are underestimating how long your daily activities really take or you are spend too much time on low value activities like aimless web surfing or watching TV.



1. Lakein, Alan. How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life. New York: New American Library, 1974.