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Top 7 Ways To Achieve More In Less Time

By Veronica Lim

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  1. Clear your desk.

    Do you find yourself at your desk working on something, only to find yourself distracted by something else on your desk? Do you sometimes find that it takes you time to locate things you know are "somewhere on your desk?" The brain uses up precious energy in trying to keep track of the things it can see on your desk, which is why you always feel so much lighter and brighter just after a clear-out. The result of a cluttered desk is that you don't work as effectively. So give yourself a chance to think more clearly by clearing your desk now.

  2. Keep a weekly time log for your first week and intermittently thereafter.

    We often think that we are being better managers of time than we really are. In reality, we don't manage time at all; what we do is manage ourselves. We make choices about how to spend our time, whether we do that consciously or subconsciously.

    Begin by creating an awareness as to where your time goes by keeping a time log for the week, broken down into 15-minute slots. Simply record how you spend your time each day, without being judgmental about it. At the end of the week, review the log objectively -- did you spend hours on end watching a TV program that you didn't even want to watch nor enjoyed? Did you spend a lot more time than you thought you did in catching up on the office gossip? Did you spend time searching for a piece of paper that's in a pile on your desk? Did it take you longer to finish a piece of work because you kept getting interrupted? Did it make sense that you were writing up client meeting notes two days after the meeting rather than immediately afterwards?

    Observe your time log objectively, then make the changes accordingly.

  3. Categorize your to-do list.

    The sheer size of your to-do list can send your brain into an overwhelming frenzy. Our brains can only cope with about 5 to 7 chunks of information at any one time. So instead of having 101 items on a to-do list, categorize them into about 5 to 7 blocks. For example, marketing the business, maintaining client relationships, managing and developing staff, etc. This way, the brain will think that it "only" has 5 to 7 things to cope with, and you won't feel so overwhelmed.

  4. Ask yourself empowering questions.

    Make it easier to prioritize your tasks effectively. Describe the purpose or outcome for each of the categories on your to-do list and why it is important. For example, if one of your categories is "Maintaining client relationships," ask yourself, "Why is maintaining client relationships important to me/my business?" Your answer may be, "To generate further business for me by having my clients continue to avail my service and refer more business to me, which means that I earn more revenue and can go on vacation more often, etc., etc."

    So when you have to make a choice as to which task on your to-do list to address next, ask yourself another question to compare the relevant importance of the two categories in which your tasks fall.

    For example, "Which is more important for me to do right now? Maintaining client relationships or marketing the business?"

    Once you have assigned a task to its relevant category and know the purpose or outcome of the task, it makes it simpler to determine its relative importance to another task at that moment.

  5. Focus with passion.

    Whilst there may be 101 items on the to-do list, you can only address one item at a time. So having decided which task to address, focus on that task with passion. In addition, schedule uninterrupted time each day to focus with passion on the task at hand. Don't let yourself get distracted by emails arriving in your in-box. Divert your telephone calls, ask your boss and colleagues for support. You'll get it finished in double quick time, which will release more time for you to do something else.

  6. Train to delegate, then delegate effectively.

    "Am I the best person to be doing this task, or would I be better off delegating this to someone else?"

    Invest the time now to train someone properly to do the task to your standards so that you can delegate more of those tasks in the future, leaving you with time to do other jobs which have a higher pay-off. When you delegate to someone, don't dump it on them. Make sure he/she understands why he/she is doing the task, the outcome or results expected, the priority and/or deadline that he/she has the tools to do the task you ask, and that you had previously invested time in training him/her how to do the task.

  7. Remember the 80:20 Rule.
    Doing the right 20% of all the things you need to do will give you 80% of the returns. So think 80:20. Ask yourself, "What could I do now that would give me the highest pay-off?" Then, do that.


    • Relax!

      Make time to relax, take time to relax. Take fifteen minutes out of everyday for quiet time or meditation when you blank out your mind and let it learn to slow down. This revitalizes and re-energizes you so you are more effective. And, it also allows your brain to rest and move from being rea-c-tive to being c-rea-tive.

Today's Top7Business article was submitted by Veronica Lim. Lim is a Personal & Corporate Success Coach. She has international practice and works with managers, salespeople, executives, entrepreneurs and other people from all walks of life, helping them to define success for themselves, find balance and fulfillment, and achieve their goals. Be sure to visit Veronica's Web site at

Article Submitted On: April 12, 2000