7 ways to make every minute of your working day count

All of us have only 24 hours in a day and few of us want to spend all of these hours working.

So being able to manage your day effectively will determine not only your business success but also your quality of life.

Here are seven ways to make every minute as productive as possible.

1. Manage your day with time limits: One of the most effective ways to take control of your time is to block out specific segments of your day to work on particular tasks. Some people work well in short bursts completing specific 15-minute tasks before moving on to the next one. Others prefer longer sessions of 45 or 60 minutes. Using a timer keeps you on track.

2. Make sure you control your email instead of letting it control you: Email is now an essential business and communication tool. But sometimes, it can turn out to be a real productivity killer. One recent survey showed that most of us spend at least a quarter of our working day responding to emails. While obviously some of that is important, we can free up a lot more time by managing our email more effectively.

3. Take steps to avoid interruptions: Interruptions can show up in many forms – phone calls, emails, people dropping by unannounced or just about anything that distracts your focus from what you are involved in. One way you can deal with this is being aware of likely interruptions and deciding whether they are necessary. You have to ensure that while you are focusing on managing your own time that others don’t perceive your dedication negatively. So make sure you let them know when you will be available.

4. Set up your working area for efficiency: A well-ordered office or desk helps you achieve your time management goals. Arrange your office so that it is convenient for you to work comfortably – and clear your desk of clutter. Whatever you need in the course of your workday should be easily accessible. The right colors, the right furniture to keep you comfortable, the right storage can all go a long way in keeping you working in harmony.

5. Answer the phone because you want to – not because it is ringing: If you know how to use the phone to increase your productivity, it can go a long way in saving you time. Rather than emailing someone and waiting, sometimes it is far quicker to interact over the phone and get your answers immediately.

6. Surf the web productively: The Internet is a wonderful resource. But, unless you are disciplined, it’s extremely easy to find yourself aimlessly surfing the web when you should be working. Studies show that many people waste two or three hours surfing the web without purpose. Rather than being sucked into this massive time waster, set aside a specific time for conducting Internet research or browsing for information. Then focus on your goals and do your best to resist the urge to surf. This one change will make your efforts a lot more focused and productive.

7. Make use of automation: There is a wide range of technology available for carrying out many tasks. Whether it’s using automated software to send out your emails or to keep your website up-to-date, or automating the issue of your invoices, it can save you considerable time and money. Also consider creating standard emails that you can issue – perhaps automatically – in response to specific inquiries. And, if you have a web site, make sure you publish the answer to common inquiries there to minimize unnecessary questions.

The more effectively you can manage your working day, the sooner you will finish and the better your lifestyle will be.