Here’s a collection of some of our favorite time management and productivity tips, all designed to help you make the most of the minutes in your day!

Check Your Calendar Instead of Email

calendarIf you’re like me, your natural inclination is to check your email first thing in the morning. You want to find out if something really big and exciting happened over night, and starting with email *feels* like an easy win. It’s a quick way to mentally check something off your list. But if you aren’t careful, emails can take you off track for a good part of your morning.

Instead of starting your day with email, start with your calendar and to-do list. What’s on the radar screen today? What must be handled today? With the lay of the land and your priorities in mind, then check email and see if there’s something more urgent or more important waiting there for you. Then, let your day begin!

Know the Difference Between Urgent and Important

It’s easy to get swept away throughout the day handling all the “urgent” things: getting to soccer practice on time, reading emails, talking to drop-in visitors, answering calls from friends, and so on. However, when you intentionally choose to spend time on important things … spending time with your aging parents, reading a book to your child, working on your personal goals and aspirations … you’ll feel more in control of your time. Life will take on greater meaning.

What urgent task can you delay today in favor of something important?

Time Yourself

Is there a task lingering on your to-do list simply because you don’t like to do it? We all have these pesky little tasks that seem like a big nuisance and yet need to get done. Here’s some of my favorites … cleaning out the fridge … cleaning the toilet … changing a burnt-out light bulb. Keep these tasks in perspective by figuring out how long it really takes to tackle them. Often, the things that linger on my to-do list take less than five minutes to do even though in my mind they seem like they’ll take a whole lot longer. Time your pesky to-dos and then, next time, you’ll be more likely to jump in and tackle them instead of letting them linger.

Minimize Electronic Reminders

Does your computer ding at you all day long reminding you about tasks you need to get done? Interruptions are terribly disruptive to your productivity … and these dinging reminders are just one more source of interruption. Use audible reminders only for time specific events such as meetings and appointments. For standard tasks, use a to-do list without bells or whistles.

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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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