1,440 minutes.

We are all given 1,440 minutes every single day, to do with as we decide. Regardless of age, race, gender, or financial position, one thing all humans have in common is the amount of time we are given in a single day.

So why do some people seem to have so much more time than others? Well, you might say, they just manage their time better. But you can't really manage time, just like you can't save it.

The answer is how you use it.

Here are three keys to get your time usage under control:

Write it Down
It has been said that 1 hour of planning will save 10 hours of doing. When it comes to getting through your day, the "To-Do" list is a must! But it has to be a list of more than just "what I want to get done today." Start out by figuring out what you REALLY have to do. These are the most important things that MUST be done today. Realistically, you can probably get two to three really important things done in a day.

Prioritize It
According to a recent study, 20% of the average workday is spent on "crucial" and "important" things, while 80% of the average workday is spent on things that have "little value" or "no value". Do the most important things first. Or, if you have something especially heinous you have to do, do that first. It's always easiest to get the hard stuff out of the way first. Think of your time like a jar: If you fill your jar with sand (lots of little stuff), you won't have any room for big rocks (the big stuff). But, if you put the big rocks in the jar first, you will still have room for the sand.

One tool I heard about from magician Eric Paul (www.epmagic.com) is to use a cheap kitchen timer to keep you on task. Set the timer for however long you want to spend on the task at hand, and then keep an eye on it! Every time you get an interruption, you will be reminded by your timer of how much time is being wasted by the interruption, and you will get back on task quicker.

Stay on Task
The average person gets 1 interruption every 8 minutes, or approximately 50-60 per day. The average interruption takes 5 minutes, so 50% of the average workday is taken up by interruptions. First thing to do: Stay on Task! A comment I hear often is, "I make a to-do list, but it gets buried on my desk!"

One way to prevent losing your list is to keep your it in front of you at all times. Put it on a Super Sticky note on your monitor or, as one of my colleagues does, write it on your hand!

All in all taming your time is not a difficult task, but one that takes some planning and daily commitment. Try these tips for 21 days, and you will have a habit that lasts a lifetime.

Author's Bio: 

Robert B. Wallis is a speaker and trainer specializing in time management and productivity at work. He is founder and CEO of The Wallis Group. Contact him at rob@thewallisgroup.com.