Tips For Staying Focused and Prioritizing Your Time

June 16, 2011

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that everybody in the world gets the same 24 hours a day, seven days a week. How do people like Donald Trump or Oprah Winfrey manage their empires with the same limited time afforded to them as we have?

The truth of the matter is, of course, that we all have the same hours in the day and no amount of wishing, complaining, or creative time management will ever change the number of precious hours at our disposal to accomplish our goals. Yet the amount of work we must try to squeeze into those hours can be mind-boggling.

We sometimes convince ourselves that things will get easier as we become more established. Unfortunately though, it just doesn’t work that way. Yes, the work demands may change, but it is rare that they become less intense or time consuming.

It’s important to know that when too many demands on our time produce life imbalances, our relationships suffer, our work performance deteriorates, and our parenting skills go down the tubes. Plus, we invite feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, irritability, and hopelessness.

Here are a few simple things from Dale Carnegie Training that we can do to protect ourselves from time burnout:

  • Prioritize — Focus on what’s most important and set other things on the back burner. Remember—not everything is urgent or even necessary. Some things can be taken off your plate altogether.
  • Ask for help — Trying to do it all on your own is inviting disaster. Hire help where appropriate. Call upon a friend, family member, or colleague. People are often glad to lend a helping hand.
  • Take time to rest — You can re-energize yourself in as little as 30 minutes. Take a walk or ride your bike. Play with your pet, listen to music, or flip through your favorite magazine. Or simply take a catnap. When it’s time to get back to work, your improved effectiveness and productivity will more than make up for the 30 minutes of “down time.”
  • Just say no! — You can’t agree to accommodate every request that comes your way. Both at work and at home, it’s perfectly okay—and necessary—to set limits on which tasks and activities you will add to your already full schedule.
  • Accept the fact that you’re human — Stop trying to achieve perfection on every task. Few people notice the difference between a job well done and a job done perfectly anyway, so do it well and then move on.

There will never be a perfect balance between the demands of work, family, and life itself. Simply do your best and remember to appreciate the good things you have in your life. Seek gratification in your work, and enjoy your family and friends. With the proper balance and perspective, you’ll not only manage your time more effectively, you’ll find life to be rewarding, engaging, and occasionally, simply extraordinary.

This post is brought to you by Dale Carnegie Training of Maryland and the DC Metro Area. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo credit: Salvatore Vuono

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One Response to Tips For Staying Focused and Prioritizing Your Time

  1. […] you’re feeling like you also don’t have enough hours in the day, you may want to read this article from Dale Carnegie Training. It’s a good reminder on how we all need to stay focused to […]

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