For most of us, working at home seems like an ideal set-up: you don't have a boss breathing down your neck and most deadlines are self-imposed. Then again, your bed and the TV are just a room away, and no one will stop you from going to the mall if you need to take a break. However, too much dillydallying can have you working deep into the night because you didn’t get the chance to during the day. Not a good thing when your husband and kids need you for family time by then!

So what’s the first step to maximizing your time and making sure you don’t slack off? “Prioritize!” time-management consultant Anthony Pangilinan admonishes. To stay on track, he makes use of “grocery lists” (things he needed to accomplish) and “brain maps” (a limitless series of circles stemming from one main circle that illustrated different aspects of a project, its advantages and disadvantages, and factors surrounding it). “That’s my brain on paper,” he says. He swears it helps him see things more clearly. It also helps to focus on habits that cost us time and replace them with more efficient behavior. Here are time-saving tips that you should try:

(First published as “It’s About Time: 9 Time-Wasting Habits—and How to Beat Them" in the "Personal Matters" section of Good Housekeeping Philippines' April 2001 issue. Adapted for use in Female Network. Photo by deanjenkins via Morguefile.com.)

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