For many business professionals, time can be a tidal wave of pressure that threatens to crash the best-laid plans with the slightest provocation. Here are ten tips to get on top and in control of your most priceless resource—the time of your life!

1. Diagnose where your time “flys.”
Keep a detailed daily log of your activities. Look for pockets of wasted time. Time wasted is any activity not directed to achieving specific goals.

2. Reduce time-wasting activities.
We create a great many of our time drain problems. Eliminate time drains uncovered in your activity log. Look for interruptions, meetings, crisis, inability to say “No,” lack of objectives/priorities, indecision, procrastination, unclear communication, attempting too much, leaving tasks unfinished.

3. Respect your time.
If you waste a minute a day, by the end of the year you will have lost the month of February. Treat time as "personal capital." Invest it in activities that pay off in dividends such as increasing revenue, customer retention, stress reduction, work-life balance etc.

3. Restrain time commitments.
Avoid overcommiting. Work overload leads to diminishing returns. Don't take on more than you can comfortably handle. There’s always enough time for what really matters. Save time for yourself each day. You’ll build reserves of energy you’ll need when things get hectic.

4. Sort the urgent and important.
Decide what goals must be done now (urgent) and what contributes to the mission (important). To feel in control of your time, work on reducing the number of urgent and important matters (A priorities), so that you can invest 80% of your time in important but not urgent matters (B priorities). These are goals that create life-balance, preventative measures, crisis elimination etc. Use the 80-20 rule to separate the vital few from the trivial many. Invest 20% of your time in your top priority to be 80% effective.

5. Eliminate distractions.
To eliminate time wasters, be ruthless about getting eliminating situations that intrude on your personal time. Assign interruption times, move to a quiet location, use voice mail, or start work before the crowds come in.

6. Find information fast.
Studies show that 20% of time is spent searching for and/or just handling information. To be organized, be able to put your hands on whatever you need in your workspace within 60 seconds.

7. Break the procrastination habit.
Possibly the greatest time waster of all, make a radical change in your routine and break major goal tasks into subtasks. Take it one bite at a time. Start on the easier parts first. Use the “Just so long as I’m here” technique to get the ball rolling. Reward small victories.

8. Use other people's time to leverage your own--delegate.
The greater your responsibilities, the more help you need from others. Always ask, "Who else can I get to do this for me?" Delegate, delegate, and then delegate more until you are doing only what you can do.

9. Be creative with your time.
Discard costly habits and replace them with more innovative techniques. Barter time with others; trade favors, consolidate activities geographically, plan ahead, have a Plan B ready. Keep your eye on the goal, exploring new ways of reaching it if you hit a wall. Nothing worthwhile ever came easily.

10. Add hours to your time budget by working smarter, not harder.
Use e-mail, faxes, speed-reading, memory management, referrals, making good decisions quickly, only handling paper once, multi-tasking, delegation, and other time saving tools to work smarter!

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Author's Bio: 

Named "Consummate Speaker of the Year," Lorna Riley is 25+ year international professional speaker, trainer, published author, and CEO of Chart Learning Solutions & the American Training Association. She is a member of the National Speaker's Association and has earned the Certified Speaking Professional designation, an honored classification held by less than 8% of professional speakers.

Lorna's background includes sales, management, education, and a wide variety of industries. She has created over 60 training programs, 4 Coaching Guides, 60 e-Learning modules, and assessments in Sales, Leadership, Management, and Customer Service. Her organizations offer accountability programs, performance management, e-Learning, workshops, keynotes, and hiring suitability assessments. She has presented over 1,000 programs to audiences worldwide.

Lorna has authored nine books, including co-authoring with Warren Bennis, Bob Nelson, and Margaret Wheatly, three audio albums, is a frequent contributor to trade publications, and featured in national magazines and radio.

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