Clearly, the number of hours you can work each day is not unlimited. You have to sleep, eat, perform routine daily tasks, as well as have a social life.

By working through this five-step strategy, aimed to help you to focus on your systems and processes, you will be able to take control and get organised now.

Even if you can implement only one tip from each strategy, you will benefit enormously.

Take control of your email
Email is a wonderful resource, which allows us to communicate quickly and easily and makes a real difference to our daily lives. But, beware; emails can soon take over if you let them.

Emails are not urgent
If something was genuinely ‘urgent’, the sender would telephone you, so do not think that you have to answer an email as soon as it arrives, even if it has a ‘high priority’ tag or ‘urgent’ in the subject line.

Set times to check emails
Set times to check and respond to emails. This will focus your time more effectively. Checking your incoming emails twice a day is enough – try 11am and 4pm.

Disable email notification
Make sure that you disable the notification sign and sound, so that you will not be tempted to check each time an email arrives. This allows you to focus on tasks you need to complete without distractions.

Take control and manage your day-to-day activities
Unless you have a daily plan, you will soon be asking yourself what you have achieved at the end of each day – it is all about working effectively and efficiently.

Create a schedule
Include all personal and business appointments in your schedule, so that you do not miss any important appointments.

Include deadlines on your schedule
Include all your important deadlines in your schedule, both clients’ and your own, so that you can plan the work accordingly.

Treat yourself like an important client
Set aside time in your schedule to complete your own work; in that respect, treat it the same as you would an appointment with an important client.

Take control and keep projects on track
It is important that all project work is planned, so that you know what you want to accomplish and by when

Have a budget
All projects need a budget to allow you to monitor expenses effectively. Use a simple-to-use spreadsheet program, such as Excel, to record all income and expenses

Create an expenses system
Create a spreadsheet to monitor all expenses against budget, on either a weekly or monthly basis

Create a contact-management system
Every project, regardless of size, requires the support from a number of people. Therefore, you should have a contact-management system to allow everyone involved to be able to access all the necessary contact details easily

Review your project regularly
Regularly review projects against objectives and budget to monitor your progress. You can then make any necessary changes immediately instead of leaving them until the last minute.

Look out for part 2 of this article coming up on the blog next week.

Your action plan
What strategies are you going to implement?  Please share in the comments below as well as the improvements you’ve made to your productivity.

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