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Everyone starts with the same tools – we all have 24 hours in a day, and seven days in a week at our disposal. So why are some people better at organising their time for success than others? It’s all in the ‘how’ – and making that how a habit:

1. Start positive

– Before you even get out of bed, tell yourself that this is going to be a great and productive day. This automatically puts you in charge of the day’s events.

2. Work on you first

– If your plan for the day was to start by writing a business plan, but emails are demanding immediate responses, you’ve already lost control. Write that plan, then check your emails.

3. Close your eyes

– Take a little time out to visualise what you want. Put as much detail into your daydreaming as you can. It will help you focus not just on exactly what you want, but how you’re going to get there.

4. Relax with a book

– Reading can almost halve your risk of developing some dementias, as well as giving you new ideas and insights. If you don’t have time to get through whole books on a regular basis, apps such as Blinkist and Nugget deliver targeted and useful extracts.

5. Be accountable

– Have someone to answer to, even if you’re your own boss. Make a habit of passing on a piece of useful information to a mentor or trusted friend each day.

6. Write it down

– Adopt James Altucher’s method of making a list of 10 ideas every day. They don’t necessarily have to be useful; flexing the creativity muscle is key.

7. Just do it

– Make a to-do list, and keep it small. Use a post-it note, and just write a few things on there. It’s easier to be more productive if you’re not overwhelmed with more things on your list than you have working hours available.

8. Take breaks

– It doesn’t matter if you’re on a roll, it won’t be long before your brain gets tired and that momentum deserts you. Step away, look out the window, and give your eyes and mind a rest. Pomodoro and similar techniques will focus you even further, and enable you to get more done by taking effective breaks.

9. Break up the day

– It’s easy as a freelancer or desk-based worker to get stuck to the chair, and discover that you’re still drifting through the same task you started that morning when it’s time to stop for the day if you don’t structure your work hours. Have definite cut-off times; dull or unpleasant tasks get easier, as you know you won’t be doing them all day.

10. Theme your days

– Just as Monday was traditionally washday for housewives of the past, consider taking a leaf out of their effective household management. For example, make Monday the day you work on your own marketing, Tuesday the day you look for new clients, etc.

Don’t forget to factor in a day off! Once you get into an effectiveness routine, you will no doubt find other strategies that work better for you – allow them to evolve, and be YOUR best!