Efforts are wonderful, but results create value. Results come from a strong focus and uncommon persistence. For many CPAs, focus begins with good time management. Every practitioner gets 24 hours a day—1,440 precious minutes—that never seems to be enough. To manage your time is to manage your life, so learn good time-management skills. For example,
R Identify your personal high-energy periods—when you can generate a lot of focus and creativity—and clear those times for your biggest tasks. This is your greatest value-added time. Learn to use it to provide results.
R Touch paper once. Trash it, execute it, put it in your read file, but do your best to touch paper once.
R Open e-mails once. E-mail is a tool; do not allow it to be a constant interruption. Cut off the e-mail alert.
R Make a daily “to-do” list in order of importance. Reorganize it as needed to stay focused on top priorities.
R When you are groggy or just not having your best day, take a break, go out for a walk, get a snack, do something to regenerate and create a higher level of energy.
R Do the hardest thing first. Postponing a difficult task adds stress and drains energy. Attack tough items first.
R At the conclusion of your workday, review and critique your effectiveness. Note triumphs and wastes of time. Resolve to attack priorities the following day.
Editor's Note: This is a Web exclusive sidebar to " Right Track Your CPA Career ," by Joey D. Havens and Michael Hayes, in the February 2009 issue of the JofA.