"We must use time as a tool, not as a couch."

-- John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963)
Time cannot be managed. It ticks on regardless of any effort we try to exert on it. We do have a choice about how we spend the minutes and hours allotted to us during our life. Here are ten ideas for making the most of the gift of time you are given each day.

1. Take extra good care of yourself.
Just like a car that is tuned up, taken care of and given quality fuel, you will operate more efficiently the better you take care of yourself. Time spent on healthy eating, quality sleep, exercise, and other personal care activities will help you get more out of each hour.

2. Do activities in chunks.
When a runner works out, they do so in one chunk of time, without stopping. Even when they come to a street corner and wait for a light, they will run in place. Stop and start, stop and start in our activities keeps us in a constant state of warm-up. By chunking, we warm-up once and then get into a groove that makes us more efficient.

3. Eliminate distractions.
Distractions often rob us of the time we need to get work done in an efficient manner. Having someone hold your calls (or letting the machine get it) or going to a place where you will not be interrupted will help you maximize your efforts.

4. Less is more.
Another way to say this is quality versus quantity. By putting less on your calendar each day you give yourself more quality time on each activity and allow yourself some space to deal with those unexpected activities that tend to pop us.

5. Use a daily planner or time management software.
There are many different paper and paperless planning tools available today. Examples include DayTimer or DayRunner calendars and ACT or Goldmine software. Pick the one that feels right for you.

6. Say No as a means of simplification.
When we say Maybe or I'll try it often really means I want to say No, but I'm afraid you won't like it if I do. By saying No more often, you automatically cut your workload. People will appreciate you being that straightforward.

7. Create more time.
Find at least one activity in your schedule that is not giving you the pay-off you want. Remove it and enjoy the time you get in return.

8. Automate
Benefit from technology. From dishwashers to computer software, there are many choices of ways to automate tasks in your life that can take up time. Especially those activities that you may not enjoy (i.e. like doing the dishes).

9. Delegate
There are often activities that need to be done, but you do not necessarily need to be the one to do them. If you would rather not clean your home, hire someone to do it. Car repairs taking up your time? There are now services that will come to your home or job to perform the work.

10. Integrate
Kill two birds with one stone. This is especially helpful when you can combine an activity you enjoy with one you do not. An example is listening to a really good book on tape while doing exercises or household chores.
by Scott Wintrip who can be reached at
How will you manage your gift of time?

Pick 3 of Scott's ideas this week. Integrate them into your schedule.

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