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10 ways to save time at work

A handy guide.

Photograph: Getty Images

We all wish we could turn the clock back, make different decisions and spend more time with the kids. With hindsight, we'd all have lived our lives differently, especially, I suspect, at work. You see it's at work where the most time gets wasted. Wasted time is lost time. Time that could have been made making better decisions. Better because with more time and less pressure, decision making becomes more objective.

So whilst I cannot tell you how to go back and change the past, I can help you make more time in the future. That way you'll gain time you'd otherwise lose. You'll make good decisions and have more time for family, friends and fun.

Here are ten simple things that will help your time travel more slowly:

  1. Define your vision and focus on this, not the carrot on the end of the corporate stick;
  2. Write down, in the present tense, how your Iife will look in five years time;
  3. Making scheduling tomorrow's tasks the last thing you do at work each day. Then start your day with the most important from that list;
  4. If you're desk based, run your PC with two screens - then you can use two applications at the same time - the improvement in efficiency will amaze you;
  5. Go paperless and use a tablet computer when on the move - invest - integrate - work simply;
  6. Avoid pointless meetings - when you do meet, keep to both agenda and time - leave when bored - nobody will sack you;
  7. Be brutal with time thieves - get 1:1 meetings done in an hour - don't 'drop by' or allow others to drop in on you;
  8. Say no to stuff that's not for you. Instead, volunteer for stuff that builds your career;
  9. Keep fit - make time to work out and make it sacred;
  10. Break routines - this blog was written on a hot afternoon by the pool.

Robert Ashton's book Teach Yourself Time Management in a Week, is published by Hodder Education