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Stephen Covey in his book ‘First Things First’ says that the most productive people spend most of their time on activities which are Important but not urgent. These activities focus around, amongst other areas, planning, preparation and taking steps to prevent problems rather than dealing with the consequences.

Many people, in my experience, don’t seem to have any plan or structure when it comes to managing time – which is after all our most valuable resource.

And just because you know stuff doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to do everything right all of the time. My biggest time management struggle is to be disciplined with the amount of times a day I check my e-mails! I love to get e-mails – it’s exciting! The trouble is most of the time the content of the mail is neither important or urgent – but times disappears while I’m busy reading and responding to them! When I’m being really good I only check e mails 2 or 3 times a day, as opposed to 20 or 30 times an hour!

There are a few other very simple, but equally effective, habits that I have developed and do always stick to. The discipline of keeping an up to date ‘To Do’ list – a long list of everything and then a daily short list of the important but not urgent things to be done that day. This system takes only minutes to do each day and is the main reason for my productivity.

Being aware of your‘time stealers’ – the processes, habits, people, interruptions etc etc is essential – then taking action to do something about them is even better.

Bottom line is – we can’t manage time – all we can do is manage our choices and priorities!