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1) Know Your Purpose.

Know your vision, your goals, and your plans because these help you set priorities. Each day, identify the task you must accomplish and make that your top priority. Also, set aside time to invest in your future, working on important things that you will need later. If you have yet to write out your priorities, then take time to do this. It could be the most important hour that you spend in your life.

2) Say No.

Be fiercely protective of your time. Make sure each new commitment adds value for you. Do what is necessary and then stop. Rather than ask yourself "What can I do?" ask "What can I not do?" Avoid low value tasks, new projects, and distractions. Then tell people about your decisions. Huge amounts of effort are wasted by people trying to complete tasks that someone else decided to ignore.

3) Schedule Life.

Even if you ride an accelerating treadmill you can step off once in a while. Leave work at 5:00 p.m. on Friday. Take Saturday or Sunday off. Give yourself a two minute break when you close your eyes, rub your neck, or meditate. Set a date with family members for a meal or an activity (hint: put this date on your calendar as if it were an important business appointment, because it is).

4) Protect Yourself.

When you’re tired, your efficiency falters. Thus, eat healthy foods. Get enough sleep. Avoid toxic habits. Exercise (use the stairs, do crunches or push ups in your office, take a five minute yoga break). If possible, schedule exercise as if it were a business appointment.

5) Be Efficient.

Spend time only with people who add value to your life. Buy only from companies that provide adequate support. Hold effective meetings. Decline invitations to meetings without an agenda (I guarantee these will accomplish nothing). Avoid conflicts; they always cost time to repair. Keep your cool; anger always costs you more than what it achieves. Take a moment to plan before starting a task.

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