If you’re the sort of person who plans Christmas like a military operation you may already have everything well under control. If you’re not so good at managing your time then here are a few tips to help.

Daily Planning. Spend the first 10-15 minutes every day planning your tasks and actions for the day. What do you need to complete this week to keep you on track? When are you going to do these? Plan the time in your diary. Book out an appointment with yourself for specific projects. Break large tasks into smaller more manageable chunks.

One diary. Whether it’s paper-based, electronic or on your computer - keep all your personal and business appointments in one place – that way you won’t forget important dates, children’s activities, school events, social gatherings etc.

Prioritise. What must get done today? What else needs to be done? Doing the important tasks first can avoid them becoming urgent later on. Be realistic about what you can achieve each day – don’t set yourself up with a massive to-do list and only do a few things. Start small and build from success. Be aware of ‘time-wasters’.

Delegate. Do you really need to do everything? Who else could help you out? Give the job to someone else to do – cleaning, gardening, paperwork. Assign tasks to other family members or work colleagues. If you can’t afford to pay someone to do the work for you, what could you do in exchange?

Avoid interruptions. Sometimes we’d have so much more time if we didn’t get interrupted. If you have work to do and need some undisturbed time – switch off the phone, ignore the incoming emails. If you’re at work, book a meeting room and lock yourself away for a couple of hours. If you can – work from home for the day.

Give yourself a break. Make sure you plan breaks into your day – even if it’s just a few minutes. You will be fresher and better able to concentrate. Get up and stretch, take a few deep breaths, get yourself a drink. Take a proper lunch break – you deserve it!

Learn to say No. Eager to please and to be seen to be helpful, we often take on things we’d rather not do or don’t really have time for. Learning to say No can be useful to stop getting overwhelmed or feeling guilty. Be clear and direct. Your time is yours, you are entitled to a say in how you spend it. Don’t be misled by other people’s expectations – whether that’s family, friends or your boss.

Reward yourself. Don’t forget to reward yourself at the end of a busy and productive day or when you’ve completed a particular project. Include it in your plan - how will you treat yourself?

Author's Bio: 

Clare works with individuals and small business owners to help them plan and organise their time more effectively. Learn how to prioritise, plan and delegate. Spend your time doing what matters and stop worrying about the things that don't.

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