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Your work goals should be realistic and you should plan each week and day carefully. Forecast the time you will need for all significant tasks and afterwards review how much time you actually needed. Don't overschedule your day so you have to break appointments at the last minute. Remember to give yourself some quiet thinking time before an important meeting and, when possible, delegate.

A lot of wasted time arises from not being able to find the right thing when you need it. Review your paper and electronic filing systems, put new systems in place where necessary and tidy your workspace at frequent intervals.

Finally, if you are still getting distracted and interrupted, work out a strategy to protect yourself. Put a sign on your door, divert your telephone calls or work with your back to everyone else.

It may look anti-social, but it should improve your performance and help you to rediscover a life outside work.

The Training Organisation for Construction Professionals, tel (020) 7637 8692 CinC www.cic.co.uk

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