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Joni Bates
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Inside the Chamber column: 10 essential ideas that will save you time every day

Joni Bates

It's 6 a.m. Monday and my first day back from vacation. I am rested and enthusiastic about starting my day. I have plenty of time and can easily be at work by 7:30 and no later than 8 a.m. Then for some reason everything goes haywire and what seemed to be a lot of time turns into me arriving to work at 9 a.m. Does this sound familiar? I read an article in Career Builder that said 29 percent of employees show up late to work at least once a month.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about time management because of a conversation I had with a friend when we were working at an event. We were discussing how often people show up late for meetings and how unprofessional this seems. The conversation quickly switched to how busy we all are, and she said something that really hit home, which was, "We are all busy. It's just about how you manage your time every day."

So after that conversation I began investigating exactly what it means to manage time. When I Googled "time management" I found that it is the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.

Now I am reading an online management study guide, which I hope to implement into my daily/weekly routine. Below are my top 10 time-management tips that I hope to use as a guideline.

Effective planning: Prepare a "To-Do" List before you retire for the evening to get your next day started, and hopefully you will sleep better as well. But remember: Don't make your list so long it is not doable, and set a completion date.

Emails: Answer emails when you first arrive at work, before lunch, and again before you leave for the day. Otherwise you may end up getting nothing else accomplished.

Set goals: What is the goal/objective of your task? Make sure you achieved your desired results. If not, what is missing?

Prioritize: Don't work on something that doesn't have to be done right away. If you have an impending task of urgency due within days, don't put it off. Procrastination will get you nowhere.

Don't misuse time: Concentrate on your work. Finish assignments on time. If you want to spend time visiting with a co-worker try to do so at lunch or after work.

Stay focused: Use your online calendar, planners, organizers, apps on your phone or whatever it takes to keep your day streamlined.

Interruptions: Schedule time to be pulled away from what you are doing. There is going to be something unexpected during the day that you may need to tend to immediately, so plan for it.

Personal time: Keep time set aside each day during your break to make personal calls or check social media updates. Remember to try to go for a walk around the block to get some fresh air.

Do not disturb: If you absolutely must get something done close your door, put your phone on do not disturb, and don't answer emails.

Learn how to say no: Try not to take on more than you can handle. If you are already overloaded and finding it difficult to get your to-do list complete try to find a co-worker that can assist with the new project.

Remember, when planning your days during the looming bridge detour "Time and tide wait for no man (or woman)." Schedule your day with extra time to reach your destination on time. Also, please do your part in assisting with traffic reduction, if possible, by using alternate transportation or, if your employer allows, try to work from home a couple of days a week.

Joni Bates, IOM, is the VP of membership development at the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. She can be reached at 970-945-1514 or joni@glenwoodchamber.com.