Many people ask how I accomplish so many things with work, volunteer, family and leisure time. My answer to the question is: I just do it.
So you already know I am an early bird. Up at 5 am except Saturdays when I sleep in until 6 or so. First thing every morning I prepare my task list by creating a new list starting with the most important task first. Having the discipline to complete task one and then move onto task two and so forth. It is difficult to always be disciplined because everything new becomes an instant priority.
One of the keys to managing your time is to schedule your priorities and not to prioritize what is in your schedule. Go back and read this sentence again. Try it!
An interesting and effective tool is creating a "Do Not Do List". This may seem strange, however reviewing this list helps to remain focused on the priority tasks.
Setting agendas for meetings has helped manage time more effectively. How many meetings to do you attend and find not much was accomplished or no action items to take away?
Once I added this technique it helped managed my time better. When someone asks for your time, besides asking them to set an agenda, I have found giving them some "homework" separates the time wasters from the ones who are genuinely interested in making a difference. Ask questions and ask for some deliverables for the other person to bring to the meeting along with their agenda of course.
Learning to say no. Very tough. Sometimes the right answer is to say no. Set your criteria on what you are going to add to your plate and simply say no to the others.
How do you make your time count?