WESTMINSTER - Time may fly when you're having fun, but it also can get away from you at work or home when you find the day has ended but your "to-do" list hasn't.
Finding time to get everything done can be tough, but evaluating your priorities can be a first step toward managing your day, a consultant told county business people Wednesday.
"You must master your time, not let it master you," said Suzanne K.
Hussein, who owns a consulting company in Baltimore.
"What we spend our time on is very revealing," she said. "We often let others or circumstances control our time."
Hussein gave a seminar on time management to about 40 people at the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce Business to Business Show at Martin's Westminster.
Susan Roche, who owns a sales company in Westminster, said she plans to try some of Hussein's tips in order to make her days as productive as possible.
"It never hurts to have more organization. Time is a priority with family and work," she said.
One way to accurately gauge how you're spending your time is to keep a log of everything you do for a week, Hussein said.
You also should make a list of your values and goals, she said.
If what you record in your time log doesn't jibe with your priorities, you need to make some adjustments, she said.
"Time is life. It is irreversible and irreplaceable. To waste your time is to waste your life," she said.
A time log also will help you identify your most productive time of day, she said.
Hussein counts among her clients Carroll County government, the Board of Education and Taneytown Bank and Trust Co. She said she's helped employees try to find ways to be more productive.
When making a "to-do" list, it's important to order them by priority, she said. Some items may seem urgent, but aren't necessarily important in the scheme of the day. It's important not to let small tasks get in the way of larger goals.
"Lots of time when we have something big to do we avoid even starting it," Hussein said.
The "Swiss cheese" approach may help procrastinators: Break a large task into small pieces and chew away at the whole.
"Pretty soon you've accomplished your goal," she said.
Busy people also should identify what activities waste their time and should find ways to change those things, Hussein said.
In offices, people often find meetings and phone calls are big time-wasters, she said.
In order for a meeting to be as productive as possible, it should have a time limit and an agenda, Hussein said. Managers also should ask themselves whether a memo might suffice.
In order to take advantage of your most productive time of day, you might consider not taking phone calls, Hussein said. You can always call people back later.
The business show, designed to give companies a chance to network, also featured exhibits from 60 area businesses and other seminars and speakers.
Frank Gibson of Traynor's Floors and Carpets Inc. in Westminster said he was pleased with the show.
"It was a quality crowd, very professional," he said.