image-alarm-clockOur fearless leader, Cathy Coloff, shares some tips learned over the years that have helped her make the most of her time.

Everyone knows time is finite and it should be used wisely. It is so easy to procrastinate in today’s world, and so I’ve discovered my “golden hours.” You know, those hours (or minutes if need be) where I tackle the hard stuff or sometimes do my least desirable but necessary work. When are your “golden hours?”

For me, it’s the wee hours of the morning before the house wakes up between 5:00 am and 6:30 am. I pick one task that needs to get done, and I get started. There’s a simple but good “Are You a Procrastinator” quiz on the website. Check it out. I was happy to find that because I’ve been successfully honoring my “golden hours,” I’m not too bad. Of course, I’ve got room for improvement!

By following the advice of Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog!, I break down my bigger tasks and dive in. Even if I only spend 15 minutes on a particular task, progress is made. Whenever I skip those “golden hours,” the day doesn’t seem to goes as smoothly or as productively. Recently, I started making my list of what to do the night before. It has only 1 to 3 items on the list because my “golden hours” really aren’t that long. A small change but so effective—more kaizen!

Want to get a handle on your time? Just like with dieting, exercise or other, one of the best first steps is to start tracking how you use your time. Anything from a simple paper log to an automatic program can help you get a handle on how you use your time. I’m currently trialing a program called “DeskTime” to help me see how I’m using my time on my computer.   The benefit—I can follow my Internet and applications use and habits which allow me to make smarter, more informed decisions about what I do in the future.

Another tip that I’ve finally integrated into my time management plan is time blocking. I love using the recurring feature of my calendar to block off time to review my goals weekly or to read and review industry newsletters and more. By simply putting them on my schedule, it gets done; even if it’s not exactly in the scheduled time window.

Time management is a challenge for most. The good news is that by focusing on kaizen or making small, systematic, good changes, your use of time and ultimately your life can improve.

First published in our December 2014 IT Radix Resource newsletter