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How to Organize Your Day

Prioritizing Your Agenda

You may feel as though you don't have a lot of time to get tasks done, let alone free time to concentrate on planning them out. But a little planning can go a long way and save you time in the long run.

Before you get into the details of what you hope to accomplish each day, think first about the week ahead. Identify the priority tasks you need to tackle first, and block out time to concentrate on those. Your deadline might not be until Friday, but if you've got obligations on Wednesday and Thursday, you might want to set aside time to get the task done on Monday or Tuesday. Don't let distractions, such as phone calls and e-mail, distract you during your "work time." Plan to deal with distractions only after you've made headway on the big project. Consider returning phone calls when you might otherwise be doing nothing, such as when you're standing at the bus stop or sitting in the car waiting to shuttle your children around.

After you've figured out what you want to get done in the coming week, think of how it relates to your goals for the month and the year. Break down larger goals into small pieces, and plan out when you're going to work on them.

Each night, cross what you've completed off your to-do list. You'll be able to see all that you've accomplished. Set reasonable goals for the next day and see whether any two things on your list can be done simultaneously.

No matter how much you plan, you can't control everything, and scheduling conflicts are bound to arise. For information on dealing with these bumps in the road, read on.