RED ALERT! (This is a Time­Wast­ing-free Zone!)

From TV and your make-up rou­tine to on­line mes­sage check­ing, here is how to put a lid on those dis­trac­tions

Cosmopolitan (India) - - YOU, YOU, YOU -

There’s no deny­ing that we’re all swamped these days. But that’s not nec­es­sar­ily bad. Stud­ies say we’re ac­tu­ally hap­pier when busy. The prob­lem is, ex­perts say we’re use­less at manag­ing time, and end up feel­ing stressed as a re­sult. That’s why we called in the pros to teach us the best tips for get­ting on top of things. Here, they share their se­crets to tak­ing back your time...

Tweak Your TV Time

You start watch­ing an old episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S and, hours later you’re still there. If the TV stops you from get­ting things done, Ti­mothy Ferris, time-man­age­ment guru and au­thor of The 4-Hour Work­week, sug­gests watch­ing just DVDs for a week with a limit of one per day.

Ig­nore The Beep

Be­ing a slave to your in­box’s mes­sage alert is a huge pro­duc­tiv­ity killer, says Ti­mothy, so try fix­ing a time in a day when you will check your e-mail and stick to it, even if you are tempted. If you strug­gle to stay on top of your in­box, Laura Van­derkam, au­thor of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, sug­gests you turn off your e-mail alert and set a halfhourly cal­en­dar re­minder so you can tackle your work in 30-minute seg­ments.

Limit Your Brows­ing

A ma­jor time drain? Surf­ing the In­ter­net, says Ti­mothy. Most of us will go on­line to check one thing, and end up brows­ing for an hour. Try res­cuetime.com, which will mon­i­tor how long you spend brows­ing cer­tain sites, give you a heads-up when you’ve been on for one too long, and even block ‘dis­tract­ing’ pages.

Make Use Of f Wasted Hours

There are lit­tle chunks of time, like com­mut­ing, when you’re ac­tu­ally do­ing very lit­tle. So utilise these times to free your­self up later on, or turn them into en­joy­able per­sonal time you feel you’re miss­ing out on, says Laura.

Be A Clock Watcher

A lot of us work late be­cause we don’t set time to wrap things up, says pro­duc­tiv­ity con­sul­tant David Allen, au­thor of Get­ting Things Done. Know­ing you have to leave at a set hour forces you to fo­cus. Make a pact with a friend that a few days a week you’ll go to a gym class to­gether af­ter work. If you don’t make it, you have to pay her ` 500.

Get ready in a flash

A minute or two here; 30 sec­onds there— it all adds up. Have your bikini and armpits waxed once a month in­stead of shav­ing them. Also, throw out stuff in your make- up bag that you don’t use so you can find the things you need more quickly.

Find any weak spots

Just as food di­aries help see what you’re eat­ing, writ­ing down what you do for a day helps you lo­cate things that sap time, says Laura. Once you ID the prob­lems, use these tips to help with those ar­eas.

She was thrilled that her mir­ror could toast bread, too

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