There are thousands of time management systems. Practising a few best practise principles however will cut out the dross and give you what you really want – more done in less time.

1. Cultivate self-awareness.

This is the first because it is the most important. Ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time now?” “Why have I opened Facebook this minute?” Time is a limited resource. Use it ‘intentionally’.

2. Organise yourself.

Design a structure for how you spend your time. If you’re a morning person who gets tired in the afternoon, get the high impact, paying stuff done in the morning and save the afternoons for the less taxing tasks.

3. Adjust.

Review how you spend your time. Log your activities, review your week and make adjustments accordingly. If leaving the gym to 5 pm doesn’t work because you’re too tired, change the time.

4. Do the Ds

Do it, delegate it, delay it or delete it. Consider your priorities and distribute those Ds.

5. Prioritise.

Assign your tasks A, B, C or D status. A is for the most important.

6. Make lists.

An example of a good list is an ‘InBasket’ – the place where you list all your tasks as they come in. You can priorities or apply the four Ds later.

7. Get it out of your head.

Please write your tasks down. The simple act of getting all your ‘to-dos’ out of your head clears thinking space and reduces stress.

8. Cut down on interruptions.

Try a traffic light system on your desk. Red for ‘do not disturb’, amber for ‘is it important?’ And green for ‘let’s talk’. Your traffic lights may be as simple as coloured blocks placed prominently on your desk.

9. Eat the frogs first.

Do the tasks you don’t want to do, first – particularly in the morning. Research shows our will power diminishes as the day wears on. The more tired we are, the less disciplined we become. Get the hard stuff done while you still have an iron will.

10. Will somebody die if I don’t?

Ask yourself, “Do I need to do this?” If not, bin it. You will find a great many tasks are time wasters. Not doing them will change nothing. Ignoring them will not trigger much consequence.

Time is finite. So is your health. Exercising self-awareness and discipline will help you get more out of both.

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