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Seven ways to perfect time management

Feel like there are never enough hours in the day? Between work, the kids, your relationships and everything else you have to do, there probably aren’t. But organizing your time is the best way to find a few extra minutes so you can give yourself a breather.

Here are some tips that you can use right now to help you on your way:

1.Make a quick to-do list every day. Rank items in relation to importance and urgency. This will help simplify your schedule and give you a head start on your day. (Just don’t let yourself get tied up too long while making the list!)

2.Organize electronically. Keep a calendar, a budget spreadsheet, shared documents, email files, address book — anything and everything you need to stay organized — at your fingertips. Sync your cell phone/PDA with your computer so you have access to your files wherever you are. Pay bills online automatically and save yourself at least two hours of accounting time, not to mention time addressing and stamping envelopes.

3.Declutter. Looking for what you need in a pile of things you don’t is a giant time suck. Each day, set aside five to ten minutes to sort through the paperwork on your desk and file into one of three piles: file, forward or trash/shred/recycle. Go through your mail once, and sort into the same three groups.

4.Stop procrastinating. Put things back where they belong right away, don’t wait until the last minute to get some promised task accomplished — and, most importantly, don’t postpone completing anything that stresses you out every time you remember you haven’t done it yet. Do it now and get it out of the way!

4.Fight the urge to multitask. Doing three things at once degrades both your effectiveness and efficiency at each. Focus on one thing at a time, and you will get everything done faster, with higher quality results.

5.Unplug. If you need to concentrate on the task at hand, turn off your cell phone, close your email and let people know you are not to be disturbed. You will complete your task in far less time without interruptions.

6.Help out your neighbors. Not only is this good karma, they will be much more likely to lend you a hand when you need one.

Have a tip to add? Post it below — and enjoy your newfound free time!

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