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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Edition 14: Put Your Effort Where Time Is

Time management is key to working efficiently. If you use following steps, they'll help get you to a place where you feel less stressed and can be more productive.
Step 1
Figure out where your time goes. Print two copies of the "Where Do I Spend My Time"and fill out one of the charts with your typical weekly routine – be honest!
Step 2
Reconsider the time drains.Did you find that you spend three hours watching TV at night? Or messing with Facebook or Twitter? Did you find that your commute to and from work/errands/school is taking up a lengthy portion of your week?
Consider changing your routine to maximize those hours, and begin a new schedule. Instead of plopping in front of the TV, schedule a couple nights a week for the brain drain and leave those extra hours open for productivity, leisure and setbacks.
Step 3
Schedule productivity. After you've freed up some time by banishing or rescheduling the time drains, mark some "productivity" time into your schedule. If you gain an extra hour in the evening by cutting back your Facebook time, then spend it catching up with what you've been leaving out.
4. Step 4
Schedule leisure. It might sound silly to plan free time, but if you don't do it, you'll take it anyway, putting off the productivity time and pushing yourself back into poor time management. So plan some fun, relaxing things to do in your week. Make time to take a nap on the weekend or read a book.
Step 5
Plan for setbacks. You'll never be able to stop that railroad crossing from pushing you off schedule. Your kids will inevitably throw a temper tantrum as you're trying to get them off to school. Your plumber will arrive two hours late, you'll forget your wallet at home. It happens. But if you plan for the occasional delays, it's easy to recover.
Leave several hours open during your week for "setback recovery." These are the hours you can spend writing thank-you notes, shopping for a last-minute gift, rescheduling missed appointments, etc. If you plan, those disastrous moments won't leave you asking yourself, "Where am I going to find the time to fix that blown tire?" You'll already have it scheduled. And having extra time is imperative to time management.
See? Time management isn't so hard; it just requires a little bit of planning. And yes, you can do it. Take the time right now – RIGHT NOW – and print the charts. Put them in your purse or pocket and get organized tonight. Your sanity, wallet, and loved ones are counting on it!
Keep Temper and You'll Win
We are all used to it - tapping our pencil, bouncing our knees, wiggling our feet- stressed out right before the big test. When you're writing your paper, it's too late to manage stress physically.
There are ways to help manage your stress before you take the big test.
Set Practical Goals
You may never score perfectly on the SAT, GRE, or GMAT. Drop the image of who you think you should be. Before you head to the testing center, set a practical goal for yourself (none else) before arriving. Practice with a test booklet, so you know what you can and can't do.
Say, "I choose to."
Instead of saying "I have to take this test," practice saying, "I choose to take this test." By focusing on the fact that the test you're taking is set up by your esign, you take ownership of the stressor. That can have a great effect.
Positive Imagery
Obviously, the most relaxing place in the world is not a classroom – all those right angles and hard textures don't make for serenity. But you can transport yourself to a place that is soothing to you from the comfort (or lack thereof) of your desk chair. Bury your toes in imaginary sand.
Repeat a Phrase
Repeat a mantra to yourself. It needs to be something meaningful to you. Try something like, "I can do this,". Choose something positive to tell yourself, and you may just start believing it.
No Negativism
People who aren't happy with their own lives and want to pull someone else down are everywhere. Take a few moments to jot down the negative thoughts planted by others.Write down your rebuttal to those thoughts. As an added stress relief, wad up the entire piece of paper and toss it into the trash right before testing begins

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