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Four Keys to Time Management   by Paul M. Jerard Jr.

It's only human to put things off and most of us do. Even, highly successful people find ways to waste time, but procrastination and lack of planning are "time killers." You can use the following principles for goal setting, in your place of work, or on your next home improvement project.

Another problem, with procrastination, is it can become a life style. Do you know someone who always puts anything off that they perceive as difficult? How successful is that person? Do you want to model yourself after that person?

You know the logical answers to all of those questions, so it's time to take action. To make maximum use of time, it is wise to develop a system. If you take the following steps you will get much more accomplished and have some free time to enjoy your family, friends, and hobbies.

Plan everything for the following day and into the future. Life doesn't always go according to a plan, but you can develop a template to avoid wasting time and you can plan free time to read, meditate, play, or socialize.

When you do your planning, make a list of priorities, and itemize them accordingly. Then, post it somewhere that you will refer to every day. You know your own life style, but here are some suggestions: In your place at the kitchen table, on your PC desktop, in your pocket, on your desk calendar, or on the PDA.

You get the idea - it has to be, "in your face." It is amazing how many clients, I coach, that spend the first four hours of the day getting ready, but getting nothing done. Some business owners show up to work early, and walk around in circles, without a plan.

How many times does this happen to you, in a grocery store? If it happens at all, you need a list. You also need to organize, itemize, and prioritize your grocery list. This works the same way in all aspects of life. It comes down to the old saying about, "putting all your ducks in a row."

Which brings me to the next key: Make sure all of the components needed for a project are ready and waiting. My Grandfather was a general contractor and I learned much about the sequence of events required to construct a building.

For one thing, roofing materials are not important, at the beginning of the project, but you cannot afford to forget the forms of the foundation, in the early stages of construction. This causes delays, waiting around, retracing steps, and possibly doing one, or more, tasks twice, all because you forgot a step.

The next key is to finish work that you perceive to be difficult first. When possible, put this before the tasks you like to do. You will feel like a prisoner released from your own jail.

Once you have your tasks cleared, use your free time wisely. If you know of something that will be a major priority tomorrow, take preemptive action whenever it is possible.

This carries into the last key: Go to bed early, and use solo time, in the morning, for quiet projects, when you need to concentrate. Reading, writing, and planning can be focused on, at this time, without any disruption. Later in the day, you will not be frustrated by daily interruptions because these "focusing tasks" are finished.

Many successful people take speed-reading courses, to stay current on the latest techniques in their field. What separates the successful from the not so successful? Knowledge, putting it to use, planning your time, and controlling the sequence of events, are the largest contributors to success.

© Copyright 2005 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

About the Author

Paul Jerard is the director of Yoga teacher training at Aura in RI. He's a master instructor of martial arts and Yoga. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness. He wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students wanting to be a Yoga teacher.