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Take Control of Your Time and Take Control of Your Life

By Archie Lawhorne

If you're ever going to take control of your life and make it

grand, you'll need to start by taking control of your time.

Without question, effective time management is fundamental to

succeeding in any area of life. In fact, it is often the main

difference between life's achievers and those who, although

always busy, never get anywhere.

Not surprisingly, an entire industry has been created out of the

need to better manage our time. But if you look a little deeper,

you'll see that its not so much about time management as it is

self management. Because in reality, you can't control time, but

you can control yourself and what you do with each moment of


Most experts agree that success is the result of habit.

Therefore, the first step in improving how you use your time

starts with your habits (self control). And your habits start as

consciously made decisions (i.e. what time you get up, what kind

of books you read, etc.).

Once established, good habits become second nature. In many

cases, success is not so much the result of doing the unusual,

but rather the result of one's ability to "master the mundane."

By consistently performing all of the little rudimentary tasks

that are important, over time these activities transform into

huge achievements.

Here's some simple rules to follow for better time management:

Don't procrastinate. Do it now. When people put things off, it

kills momentum, slows achievement of current goals and restricts

future opportunity as time is clogged up. The way to tackle

procrastination is to set deadlines by which goals should be

achieved. The way to avoid last-minute deadlines brought on by

procrastination is to set intermediary goals which must be

achieved and then steadily track progress.

Track your activities. Memory is a poor guide when it comes to

assessing how you spend your time. A better way is to record your

activities throughout the day, listing everything you do. Most

people will find that they have about three hours each day that

can be used in a more constructive or efficient manner. Take

stock of the time you spend chatting on the phone, flipping

though magazines or aimlessly surfing the Web, and eliminate all

that isn't necessary.

Concentrate on results. Many people spend their days in a frenzy

of activity, but achieve very little because they are not

concentrating on the right things. Don't confuse working

efficiently with working effectively. Activities can be

tension-relieving, but not goal-achieving. By concentrating on

fewer "major" priorities regularly, you can achieve a lot more in

less time.

Remember the 80/20 principle: 20% of your key activities will

give you 80% of your results. Your aim is to change this to

ensure that you concentrate as much of your effort as possible on

the high payoff tasks.

Use travel time wisely. It's easy to overlook time spent

traveling in your assessment of time management. Consider

carefully whether this is time that you could use more

productively. For example, if you opted to take the bus or train

to work, would this provide an opportunity to make better use of

your commute time? Or if you do drive, are you listening to

educational or motivational tapes (rather than the Top 40) which

could help improve your skills and make you a more productive and

well-rounded person?

Develop action plans. An action plan is a brief list of tasks

that you have to complete to achieve an objective. It differs

from a "To Do" list in that it focuses on the achievement of a

goal, (and the specific steps to get there) rather than just on

the goals to be achieved in a period of time. Whenever you want

to achieve something, drawing up an action plan allows you to

concentrate on the stages of that achievement, and monitor your

progress towards that realization.

Respond quickly. For example, take care of your mail as you

receive it. Don't let those bills and letters pile up on you. If

you're unable to respond to a letter immediately, file it in a

special place that's visible, and note on the envelope the

required action and date you intend to resolve it. When possible,

act on requests the same day you receive them. Don't let your

computer, your desk or your mind become clogged with useless


Be Decisive. Learn to say no to people. Your time is important,

so don't let other people impose or use you to compensate for

their poor planning. Eliminate distractions as much as possible.

Close your door, turn off the ringer on your phone or simply ask

not to be disturbed.

Schedule time to relax. When you're organizing your time and your

business, make sure to set aside some time for relaxation. If you

plan for it in advance, it's less likely to come up spontaneously

and distract you from other tasks. (No, sitting at your computer

with a mouse under your hand does not qualify as relaxing).

Your first step toward better time management is to take stock of

the time you waste each day and from there, reorganize your

activities to maximize every minute. (Essentially, it boils down

to exercising better self control - it's simple, but not easy).

Above all, stick to your plan. Your schedule will work only as

well as you commit to it. Keep it with you everywhere you go and

refer to it often. By following these tips, you'll create more

space to be, do and have more in your life. Best of all, you'll

approach life in a more proactive and intentional manner.

About The Author
Archie R. Lawhorne is an experienced writer and marketing

consultant. To receive his free one-page report on how to boost

your energy, enhance your mental focus, relieve chronic

tiredness, and lose weight, send an email to: For more info on how this powerful

anti-aging supplement can also improve blood pressure, reduce

cholesterol and enrich your overall cardiovascular health, go to:

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