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Effective Time Management In A Day For Dummies®

Table of Contents

Introduction
What You Can Do In A Day
Foolish Assumptions
Icons Used in This Book
Chapter 1: Setting Yourself Up for Success
Getting to Know Yourself
Assessing your strengths and weaknesses
Identifying your rhythm to get in the zone
Naming Goals to Give You Direction
Following a System
Scheduling your time and creating a routine
Organizing your surroundings
Overcoming Time-Management Obstacles
Communicating effectively
Circumventing disruptions
Getting procrastination under control
Chapter 2: Planning Your Tasks and Time
Focusing Your Energy with the 80/20 Theory of Everything
Matching time investment to return
The vital 20 percent: Figuring out where to focus your energy
Getting Down to Specifics: Daily Prioritization
Blocking Off Your Time and Plugging in Your To-Do Items
Step 1: Dividing your day
Step 2: Scheduling your personal activities
Step 3: Factoring in your work activities
Step 4: Accounting for weekly self-evaluation
Step 5: Building in flex time
Chapter 3: Setting Up and Maintaining a Productive Workspace
Streamlining Your Workspace
Clearing off your desk
Assembling essential tools
Setting up a filing system
Tackling piles systematically
Keeping Clutter Away
Handling papers once
Filing regularly
Taking notes that you can track
Chapter 4: Defending Your Day from Interruptions
The Fortress: Guarding Your Focus from Invasion
Protecting your domain from walk-in intrusions
Scheduling time offline
Secondary Defenses: Minimizing Damage When Calls Get Through
Delegating the responsibility
Shortening or condensing the conversation
Rebooking discussions for a better time
Handling Recurring Interruptions by Co-Workers
The colleague with nothing to do
The colleague who just doesn’t want to work
The employee who’s wrapped up in his world
Dealing with Interruption-Oriented Bosses
The seagull manager
The verbal delegator
Working with Intrusive Clients
A bit of attention goes a long way
Setting clients’ expectations
Chapter 5: Overcoming Procrastination
How Procrastination Takes Hold
Calling on short-sighted logic: “I have plenty of time”
Avoiding the unpleasant: “I don’t want to think about it now”
Triggering your fears: “What if I screw up? What if I don’t?”
Paralyzed by perfection: “I’ll wait until the time is right”
Sabotaging at mid-process: “I’ve earned a break”
Looking for thrills: “I work best under pressure”
Knowing Whether You Should Put It Off
Considering the costs
Knowing when to hold ’em
Laying the Groundwork: Mindset and Discipline
Motivating yourself with the carrot-or-stick approach
Recognizing excuses and shoving them aside
Chapter 6: Evaluating Your Progress
Surveying Your Results
Looking at measurable goals
Evaluating qualitative goals
Tweaking Your System
Chapter 7: Where to Go from Here
Taking Your First Steps
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Effective Time Management In A Day For Dummies®

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Introduction

Time is the only resource that people can’t borrow, buy, or barter. People may use different amounts of time to accomplish results, but everyone is endowed with the same amount of time each day: 86,400 seconds.

Your ability to manage that time is really one of the top two causes of success or failure in your life. Investing greater amounts of time into a need, goal, objective, or even weakness can tip the balance of success in your favor. At numerous crossroads in life, I had to be willing to apply more time than my competitors to achieve a competitive advantage over them in the marketplace.

Of course, if you invest too much time at work, you can be a success at the office but a failure at home. A true champion always has his or her finger on the pulse of home life and invests the right amount to keep vital relationships in life growing and thriving. The good news is that this book has both arenas covered. Congratulations on investing in yourself, your success, and your life!

What You Can Do In A Day

Effective Time Management In A Day For Dummies is about using your time more effectively to create greater results at the office and at home. It helps you with your organizational habits, discipline, systemization, goals, and values. This isn’t just a book of theory; rather, it’s one of real techniques, strategies, and tools that will help you set up an effective system for better managing your time.

Here, I help you mentally wrap your brain around the problems of time management and reflect on your needs and what system may work best for you. Then I explain how to establish a solid system that you can replicate over time. I introduce you to prioritization systems, time-categorization systems, and time-blocking strategies. You get tips for minimizing interruptions from others as well as keeping your focus and avoiding procrastination. Finally, I offer advice for checking your progress and making adjustments for better outcomes.

Foolish Assumptions

I assume that you’re reading this book because you want to use your time better. You expect to gain more time with your loved ones, you want to ramp up your success at work, or you’re looking for a little of both.

You also know that effective time management isn’t a one-stop fix; it’s a comprehensive effort that requires looking at all time-draining culprits. You’re willing to invest the effort needed to develop your time-management skills (or create them if they don’t currently exist!).

Icons Used in This Book

To help you navigate this book a bit better, you can rely on the icons in the book’s margins. The icons act as little signposts pointing out the important info.

tip_4c.eps This bull’s-eye icon points out nuggets of knowledge that are certain to give you an edge in increasing your time-management skills.

warning_4c.eps Consider this the flashing red light on the road to managing your time. When you see the Warning icon, you know to steer clear of whatever practice, behavior, or response I indicate.

remember_4c.eps This icon denotes critical information that you need to take away with you. Remember these points, if nothing else. They address the issues that you come across repeatedly with time management.

5minuteexercise.eps Take a break from the text for a quick exercise designed to help you refine your time-management strategy.

exploresomemore.eps When you see this icon, head to this book’s companion website at www.dummies.com/inaday/effectivetimemanagement. Online, you’ll find more-detailed information about topics that I cover in the book.