One of the best ways to not get discouraged with your time managing efforts is to be realistic about how you approach your list of things to do and schedule time to accomplish them. This means understanding how long you need to complete each task, how much concentration you need, and whether or not you can work on another task at the same time without impairing the quality of your efforts.
In some cases, it is relatively easy to combine necessary tasks and save time. For example, you may find that instead of making a trip to the supermarket and then moving on to a drugstore, you simply choose to buy groceries at a supermarket that has a pharmacy department. This effectively allows you to manage two tasks at one time, and still enjoy the same level of quality with each.
However, not all situations are as simplistic as combining a couple of errands. At some point, you will be faced with tasks that require your full concentration and cannot be balanced with other tasks at the same time. The trick is to know the difference between the two scenarios.
You can identify a task that will require your full and undivided attention by the following:
* The task requires attention to a great deal of detail. Projects of this type are usually best accomplished by themselves. For example, it is not a good idea to make client calls while you are posting payments to customer invoices. Because it is important to apply the right amount to the correct invoice number under the correct client account, you don't need interruptions until you complete the job. Otherwise, your company receipts will be out of line, making it necessary to find time to isolate the origin of the problem and correct it at a later date.
* You are unfamiliar with the task. In general, it is not a good idea to attempt to multitask when learning to handle some new responsibility. In order to master the new task, all your focus should be on that task. This will help to keep the learning curve to a minimum and allow you to begin the process of integrating that new task into your daily agenda. Attempting to learn how to handle the task in a piecemeal fashion will only drag things out and put you further behind.
* The timing for the task is urgent. For example, your client needs a report in time for his or her meeting right after lunch. Instead of working the report into your other and less important tasks, reorganize your schedule and make the report your priority. As soon as you complete the report and e-mail it to your client, you can get back to your other action items and continue on with your day.
Sometimes, the issue is not so much figuring out how to arrange your tasks to your best advantage, but rather setting reasonable time aside to accomplish each one. To an extent, this can be forgiven when you are first taking on a new task. After all, you've never done it before and must rely on second-hand information to estimate the time you will need to do a good job. But failing to set reasonable time limits for tasks you have done for some time can make a good day into a bad day in no time at all.