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6 Tricks For Finding Hidden Nuggets of Extra Time in Your Day

By Charles Hopkins Published 10/23/2007 | Self Improvement
Weve all heard the adage time flies when youre having fun. Well, heres something even truer than that -- time flies whether youre having fun or not. And once its flown off to wherever time goes, itll never come back.

Time is the one thing in life you cant stockpile, save for a rainy day, hide under your mattress, or give to someone to hold for you. When its gone, its gone. Adios, bye-bye, outta here.

The best you can do is make the most of the time you have in any given day. And if youre like most people, you often wish you had more of it.

There just doesnt seem to be enough hours in a day to get everything done youd like (plus throw some fun in there, too). But there are ways to find those valuable nuggets of time hidden throughout your day.

As difficult as it may be to hear, you and I are masters at letting valuable moments slip through our fingers and disappearing forever.

How many times have you heard yourself say Ill get to it in a minute"? Or dont worry, weve got plenty of time?

How about when youre at work and youve got a project to get done by the end of the day? By the time youve gotten your coffee, said good morning to your co-workers, checked your email, refilled your coffee, and finally settled down to business - its really too close to lunch to start anything serious.

Sound at all familiar?

Were all guilty of wasting time. But if youd like to get more accomplished in your day and still find time to relax and have fun, here are some simple tricks you can use starting right now:

1. Picture your day. Spend some time before your day or workday begins to list the things youd like to accomplish.

2. Decide to eliminate. Write down every single task you think you have to do during your day. Then, one by one, decide if those things are truly necessary or simply distractions. Scratch the distractions off your list.

3. Prioritize your tasks. Next, decide which task on your list is most important then the next important, and so on.

4. Dont take the easy way out. Its tempting to do the easy tasks first. Dont. By tackling the more difficult, urgent, or time-consuming tasks first, youll be surprised just how easy the others will seem and how quickly youll get them done.

5. One thing at a time. One of the greatest ways to lose time is trying to do everything at once. Stay focused on one task at a time until its completed. Then go on to the next. Youll be shocked at what you can accomplish.

6. Its ok to say no. Its easy to get sidetracked when someone asks for a favor. You want to be a good friend or coworker, so you drop what youre doing to lend a hand. Chances are great youll never get back to what you were doing. Simply tell them youll be happy to help when youre finished with what youre doing.

There are still going to be plenty of days where you just dont know what went wrong. You seemed extremely busy and yet you got very little accomplished.

On days like that, you might want to review all the things you remember that might have stolen your time. Were you on the phone a lot? Did you get caught up in a conversation with a friend? Surf the Internet? Read all the funny emails you got during the day?

A million things can take you away from getting things done during your day. Just notice them, then find ways to keep them from happening again. Theyll become easier to recognize as time goes on.

If you practice the simple techniques suggested here, you wont believe how much you can get accomplished in a day -- and how much time youll have left for all the other things that bring you joy in life.