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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

Learn to develop time management skills

After a relaxing weekend spent bumming around and catching up on chores, you return to the office and realize all that procrastinating you did on Friday means today is going to be hairy.

Trying to overcome weekend sluggishness, you spend the day in a frenzy, making phone calls, furiously typing away at your keyboard, and otherwise getting yourself into a tailspin.

Those of you in the workforce recognize this as a case of the Mondays.

But more than that, it's also a perfect example of the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, at work.

Referring to the average person's patterns of productivity, it states that 20 per cent of the work we achieve is the result of 80 per cent of unfocused effort, while we spend 20 per cent of our efforts accomplishing the remaining 80 per cent of our responsibilities.

In other words, we spend too much time rushing to get things done rather than balancing our efforts throughout the day.

The remedy to overcoming the odds is developing effective time-management patterns. Simply defined, time management is a set of common sense skills that help you use your time in the most effective and productive way possible.

By better using your time, you can learn to determine which of the things you do are important, and which can be dropped.

Figuring out what deserves most of your time is an exercise in prioritizing. You can start out each week by making a list of what needs to be accomplished that day, that week, and during the month.

List the deadlines and determine which project should be given more of your time.

Many people find it helps to allot certain blocks of time to each project, so that you don't spend too much time dwelling on smaller tasks. It also prevents you from getting distracted and feeling overwhelmed by the work you have to do.

-- Staff

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