Why it that the Bill Gateís of this world is are rich and famous? What secret do they know that the rest of us donít? If you study their live closely, you will discover the rich and famous have certain habits that attribute to their success. Successful people are very careful about how they spend their time. Below are some ways you can dramatically increase your productivity through more effective use of your time.

1. Find out where your time goes

If you want to make better use of your time, begin my learning exactly how you are spending it now. A good way to pinpoint and stop time leak is to keep a detailed diary of your daily activities for a week or two. Once you compare the record of what you have done, as revealed in your diary, with what you planned to do, as outlined by your appointments and to-do entries, this system will be a real eye opener. It will reveal how much you are letting situations; events and other people control your time instead of being in command of your schedule.

2. Establish Goals

A key point to effective time management is to have clearly defined goals. Written them down and keep them visible. Once you set your goals and have prioritised them, assign them specific time duration and list all those activities leading toward accomplishing these goals. Divide your goals in to three classifications. 1. Daily Goals 2. Company goals 3. Personal Goals.

3. Learn how to plan your activities

Goal setting and planning go hand in hand. Convert your goals into actions by listing all the necessary steps to accomplish your goals and putting yourself on a definite time schedule.

4. Prioritise your activities
When you prioritise, consider your personal life goals as well as your business aims. Some matters are urgent, but relatively unimportant (for example, returning a phone call from your alumni club president). Others are highly important, but not urgent (starting work on a presentation you have to give next month). Others are extremely important and urgent (buying a present for your significant other's birthday).

5. Keep interruptions to a minimum
It is estimated that managers are interrupted an average of six times per hour. Every time your concentration is broken, you spend a certain amount of time reorienting yourself. Isn't this a waste of time? You can prevent interruptions when your realize their causes and how much time they consume.

Not all interruptions are time wasters. You can turn interruptions into productive meetings. When co-workers interrupt with a matter you know will need attention, ask them to see you later or bring the matter up at one of your regular meetings. Or, instead of co-workers bringing you problems, have them bring you solutions. If you have a voice mailbox full of messages write them all down and prioritise calls according to their order of importance, just like regular tasks.

6. Take control of time at meetings

Much valuable time is spent attending meetings that are not always productive for every attendee. Before confirming your attendance at the next meeting ask yourself if you really have to attend.

If you are hosting the meeting you can use several techniques to turn your time into a productive session for everyone involved. First and foremost, have a defined agenda. Know what the meeting is supposed to accomplish and list steps to guide you through. If you issue the agenda ahead of time, everyone involved should be better prepared and make their contribution at the right moment.

Decide how long the meeting should last, not just the starting time. This will help everyone stick to an agenda. If you have limited time, hold stand-up meetings. You'll be surprised how fast these meetings are wrapped up.

7. Improve your communication skills

Keep the people who work with you informed. If you don't, people will interrupt you more often and turn to you for decisions, information, or help. When giving information, sending or receiving messages, take 100% of the responsibility to be sure that the communication is understood. Communication can be a "push" or a "pull" process. Decide what you want to push out to others to keep them informed. Also decide on a strategy that others can use to pull information, as they need it.

8. Keep your work area organized

A messy desk is a big time waster. It seems trite, but many people still waste a considerable amount of time rummaging through the paper on their desks looking for some piece of vital information. Even more time is wasted reshuffling and rearranging files and sheets of paper totally unrelated to the current project.

Get into the habit of handling a piece of paper just once. When you first pick it up, deal with it. Not important, throw it away. Important, read it and reply. Need it later, file it. Keep the clutter away from your desk and you'll focus on your work more easily. Clean your desk at the end of each day. This way you'll have a fresh start in the morning and use the time you have saved for planning your day.

9. Be selective with your reading

Most vital information comes from reading correspondence, memos, trade publications and reports. Even if it's an essential part of keeping up with the world, reading can take up a considerable amount of time. Often reading ranks low in your priority list and high on your "to be postponed" list.

As with many other things, consider delegating a portion of your reading material to people who work with you and can also benefit from the information. Have most material highlighted or summarized for you and spend time assimilating only the vital information.

You can also benefit from speed-reading. This time-saving technique helps you read more rapidly and increases your comprehension.

You can also cut down on the time you spend reading by approaching it more systematically. Assign priorities to your reading material. Schedule a specific time for it and tackle it in one session.

10. Consider using a planner

If you are committed to bridging the gap between your potential and your performance, better time management should become your lifestyle choice. It's important to find a system that helps you channel your energy toward a more effective use of your time. Most likely it will be either a paper-based or a software-based time planner --or a combination. If you use it regularly, your planner will be your most valuable tool. It will make scheduling easier, help you prioritise and accomplish important tasks, record everything you want to remember and guide you toward your goals.

From India, Coimbatore
My time management presentation
From India, Madras

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I appreciate this effort from the bottom of my heart. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and no wonder even if this has an wonderful effect on my daily routine.
From India, Hyderabad
Hey, Thanks for sharing such a good piece of information. I am attaching a small ppt on a Training module on time management. Do lemme know your comments and suggestion as a feedback.
From India, Lucknow

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