Each of us is given the same number of hours in a day. What you do with them is up to you. Planning out your time will make sure you get the most out of your work day. Your time is an investment in yourself. Budgeting your time on the job the way you can budget money will help you reduce your stress, become healthy and accomplish more.
Look at your day at the office as if you were looking at a road map. Decide where you want to go today and what you would like to accomplish.
If you are a list person, grab your pen and paper and devise a to-do list, leaving spaces in between for tasks that other office personnel throw at you. If you are really organized and have a good idea of what is supposed to happen when, you can note how long it will take for you to complete a task. This largely depends on what business, industry or profession you work in. Some fast-paced, high demand environments will not afford you this luxury.
If you have a computer, email or Internet at work, designate specific time slots for answering, sending and following up on emails. All other times of the day, leave it closed, if possible. This will lessen your likelihood of being distracted and you will get more done on your list.
If you need to complete work on the Internet, designate a specific time for that as well and leave it alone for the rest of the day.
If your calendar or to-do list is inside of Microsoft Outlook or another email program, set it up once a day and then leave it alone until the following work day.
If you have a planner, you may keep it handy and fill it out as tasks or appointments arise. You can also use a blackberry or other hand held device for that use.
If you are electronically minded and travel or are out and about frequently, use whatever device you have on hand, such as a cell phone, to keep track of appointments, meetings, deadlines and other important information.
Cross items off your list or delete them from your device once you have completed them. This will give you motivation to move on to the next task, as they will not seem as overwhelming.
When you are planning your work day, see what tasks you can designate to someone else or ask for an assistant to help you complete them. No one wins when you try to do everything yourself and wind up stressed out and exhausted.
Decide exactly how long you will stay at work (if that is an option) and leave at that time. Do not forget to inform your coworkers and supervisor that you will be doing this. Telling them lessens the likelihood that they will ask you to take on more projects, especially at the end of the work day.
If you are eating in your office or work area or taking breaks, hang a sign up or close the blinds so you are not disturbed.
Try not to check work email from home or bring work home.