New year – old habits? New year – new habits!

Tips for successful time management to help achieve your 2013 goals.

What do you want to change in 2013? According to About.Com Pittsburg the top resolutions people have chose to work on include:

  • Increase time spent with family and friends
  • Enjoy life more, work to change unhealthy habits
  • Pay off bills
  • Help others
  • Be organized
  • Try something new

The top resolution I’ve chosen is managing my time more effectively. I’m going to get that time under control once and for all!

Are you overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work that covers your desk? As one day follows another do you leave work feeling that while you may have accomplished something, it was more of a “check that off the list” instead of a quality job? Are you hounded by constant interruptions? All you need to do is organize your time more effectively. Right? That’s easy isn’t it? You’ll get more accomplished each day; stress will be a thing of the past and your overall outlook on life will be greatly improved. For some individuals, it is easier said than done. In order to reach this blissful state one needs to adhere to the following tips, suggested by Michigan State University Extension:

  • Evaluate how you spend your time. What is robbing you of time and how can you change it? Is there a time of day that you always get bogged down?
  • Plan your day. Use that planner for what it was intended for! Another hint - look at it on a daily basis.
  • Learn to prioritize what you need to accomplish.
  • Say no loud and clear. This isn’t always an easy task, but it can be a very important one. Don’t take on more than you can handle.
  • Delegate. Similar to saying no, if someone else can do that copying for you or make some reminder calls, let them.
  • Break down tasks. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. This is also true for large tasks. Divide and conquer.
  • Distractions. What distracts you at work? A co-worker, the placement of your desk, a cold draft? Make some changes to optimize your time.
  • Sleep, eat and exercise. Of course you know how important it is to take care of your health. A healthy body can cope better.
  • Take breaks. If you sit at a desk all day, set an alarm to remind yourself to get up and walk around. This activity is not only good for your circulation – it’s good for your brain.
  • Avoid procrastination. This is a bad habit to get into. You don’t work better under pressure, you put yourself (and maybe others), through the wringer when you put tasks off until the last minute.

The tips mentioned above are ways to manage your time more efficiently, but probably the best advice you can take to heart is this; when you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and frazzled - take a break. Involve yourself in something that makes you laugh. Do make sure you are eating, sleeping and exercising enough and you’ll find yourself coping with whatever comes your way. If that isn’t the case, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. Your workplace may offer free counseling and your insurance may pay for counseling. Don’t put off using your vacation days, your well-being is important.

Now that this article has been written, I find myself needing to stretch, grab a cup of coffee and go visit that co-worker that always makes me laugh. Good luck with any resolutions you may make for the New Year, just remember to keep your expectations at a normal level.

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