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Time Management in Your Personal Life

We have an entire chapter on organizing your life, from paperclips to your taxes. However, in time management, we need to give a nod to managing time between your work and personal life.

First, we are both big believers (bordering on evangelical fervor!) in day planner systems. There are many name brands out there, and they all offer add-ons and calendars that help particular businesses from telecommuters to salespersons who get car mileage allowances to those who travel and must prepare expense accounts. The organization chapter covers how to use these scheduling systems to your best advantage. Other workers favor "To-Do" lists. Still others advocate electronic and computerized scheduling systems. In terms of time management, your best defense against a day spent under the gun is careful planning—the night before. Getting your new day off on the right foot means looking at your obligations the evening before and having a game plan. Even 15 minutes the night before can save you precious time the next day.

In addition, if you're trying to juggle telecommuting or a home-based business with a full family life, it pays to think how you can get ahead of that game and save yourself time in the long run. Whether it's stocking up on greeting cards and wrapping paper, planning meals in advance instead of five minutes before everyone starts complaining they're hungry, or configuring the laundry area for optimal efficiency, running your household smoothly will only help you run your business more smoothly.

Even those without children or family living at home fall prey to the errand demon. Errands are consistently named the worst "time waster," so planning routes, paying online and having on-line banking, and other ideas to cut back on errands will pay off with more precious minutes in your workweek.

Save yourself time and energy by purchasing several birthday presents at the same time. If you think something is a great buy, then get three or four of them. That way you always have extra presents on hand if you're in a crunch. Top this off with a variety of gift paper and all-occasion cards. We advocate doing things once and stocking up or planning ahead.

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