Soft Skill: Time Management

Studio shot of young woman working in office covered with adhesive notes
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Be honest, did you come to this page because you're avoiding work?

Time is evasive. It's easy to let slip away from you when you're mired in work or when you stumble into an obstacle that throws off your focus. To make matters worse, most of us fall victim to the "planning fallacy," the tendency to overrate our abilities and underestimate the time it takes to complete a task – even if we've done it before.

It takes some planning and lot of discipline to stay on track. People are much more easily motivated to complete a task that has an immediate reward. That's why those short-term tasks on your to-do list are tempting when you have a large project looming over you. Because the payoff of finishing a trivial task is easier to envision and, therefore, to actualize, people tend to tackle these first even though the reward of completing a major task is far greater. Many minor tasks also tend to carry a sense of urgency that prompts us into action. We are hardwired to address immediate queries, like instant messages and "quick questions," but are more likely to postpone important things, like a presentation or year-end report.

At risk of enabling any more procrastination, AOL Jobs presents a list of the best time-management methods and tools. Try them and let us know how it works out in the comments.

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