• Is time floating out of your grasp?Photo by Marianne Pedersen
    Is time floating out of your grasp?Photo by Marianne Pedersen

CARTHAGE, Mo. – Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day.  However, the way you use those hours can mean the difference between getting important things done and just doing tasks.

Saving time is often a balancing act between efficiency and effectiveness. Important projects should take priority over checking smaller items off your list said Janet LaFon, consumer and family economic specialist for University of Missouri Extension.

“Effectiveness is investing your time in the most important task, and that’s really where we need to put our focus on what’s really important to us,” LaFon said.

A huge project or task can often be so daunting that procrastination rules the day.

“A lot of times people put things off because they just think it’s too overwhelming to even begin,” LaFon said. “If we break it down into a series of smaller jobs, then we can get one piece of the job done in the time that’s available. Then, eventually, as we work through it, we’ll get the entire job done.”

Busy families often struggle to keep everyone’s activities in order.  Compiling them in one place will help the whole family avoid potential problems.

“Keeping a master calendar can help families know everyone’s time commitments and to spot potential time conflicts,” LaFon said. 

Using time effectively does take a bit of discipline, LaFon said. Learn to say “no,” and learn to delegate.

Just a few simple tools and techniques can keep you from wondering where the time goes: 

  • Spend a few minutes at the end of your workday to prioritize your to-do list for the next day.

  • Only plan 75 percent of your day to allow for emergencies and interruptions.

  • Decide what’s worthy of your time. Label tasks as “do,” “delay,” “delegate,” or “delete.”

  •  Instead of doing small tasks throughout the day, group similar tasks and do them at one time.

  • Limit water-cooler time.  Long conversations with co-workers will eat up productive time.