Time Management: Find More Hours in the Day

There never seem to be enough hours in the day. While you can't add hours to your day, there are simple ways to maximize the time you do have. In her ASHA Leader article, "I Used to Have a Handle on Life, But It Broke!" Shari Robertson offers a few tips for taking control of time and stress—before they take control of you.

Set Personal Goals

Moving quickly but without direction can set you up for failure and exhaustion. It's important to set personal and professional goals to ensure you put your time and effort into the things that are most important to you. This is an effective way to neutralize stress and recharge your energy levels.

Use a Master List

A master list is the backbone of any effective time-management program. Your list should include every task, activity, and obligation as well as priorities and due dates. Keep the list in plain sight, and cross off items as you accomplish them. You can also use your master list as a reminder to refrain from taking on new projects until you have crossed off an equivalent amount of work.

Organize Your Workspace

Schedule an appointment with yourself (start with 2 hours) to clean out your workspace. Begin with the top of your desk and move through the rest of your space. Make a decision about every piece of paper, and throw away everything you absolutely don’t need. Eliminate all materials that have missing parts, are outdated, or you haven’t used in the past 12 months. You can substantially reduce stress and save time when you are in control of your materials and space.

Be Proactive

  • Prioritize your time to do things you enjoy, even if it means that sometimes you don't get something else done.
  • Pick your battles. Don’t waste time on needless opposition.
  • Learn to say "no" with a smile. (Leave the guilt behind.)
  • Associate with positive people whenever possible.
  • Laugh loudly and often—it’s impossible to be tense when you are chuckling.

Each one of us must ultimately decide when and where to put our energy. The goal is to achieve a healthy balance among work, home, family, and ourselves.