Ways to find more time


January 05, 1992|By Niki Scott | Niki Scott,Universal Press Syndicate

Ask any working woman what she most needs in the New Year and she's likely to say "time and money" -- in that order. Here are ways to make time for yourself in 1992:

*Stop being a slave to the telephone. This is a machine. It should work for you. Use your secretary or an answering machine to screen calls at work and both an answering machine and willing family members at home.

Also learn to say -- often! -- "I can't talk to you right now. I'll have to call you back."

*Re-evaluate your objectives. Make sure your daily, weekly and yearly goals for 1992 are still relevant, reasonable and attainable.

*Update your priorities. What's important to you now that wasn't last year? What's no longer as important as it was? What items on your list of priorities need to be moved lower or higher -- or eliminated completely?

*Cut down on interruptions. Learn to say, "I can't talk to you now," and "I'm busy now. Please make an appointment."

*Delegate more. If you aren't willing to let go of some of your current responsibilities, you'll never have time to move ahead and acquire new skills. You'll never get promoted, either.

*Get organized! The beginning of this new year is a perfect time to overhaul your filing system, computer backup system, mailing lists and (horrors!) even your desk.

*Learn to say "no." You're the only one in charge of your priorities, your time, your life. If you don't look out for them, no one else will.

*Stop procrastinating. Stop today -- don't put it off until tomorrow! If all else fails, try the 10-minute trick. Decide that you'll spend 10 minutes (no more!) on whatever it is that you've been dreading. Often these 10 minutes will stretch to whatever time you need to finish the job.

*Question the need for every piece of paper.

*Cut down on meetings and conferences. Unless you need an actual vote, most pieces of business can be better conducted via memos, phone calls and conversations at the

water cooler.

If you must call or attend a meeting, arrive on time -- never early or late -- and skip the rehash session afterward.

*Listen to your physical and psychological rhythms. If you're a morning person, schedule important work early in the day. If you're fuzzy-headed in the morning and hit your stride in the middle of the day, don't fight it. Just try to save the tough stuff for afternoons.

*Finally, learn not to spend one minute of your valuable time second-guessing yourself. Learn to make the best decision you can, then go on to something else.

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