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Through prioritizing and honest self-assessment, you can become more productive while keeping your sanity intact. Photo: (c) Monkey Business - Fotolia.com

Through prioritizing and honest self-assessment, you can become more productive while keeping your sanity intact. Photo: (c) Monkey Business – Fotolia.com

(StatePoint)

Juggling work, family, friends and hobbies can be a great challenge. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week.

Lis Wiehl knows all too well. As legal analyst and commentator for Fox News Channel, and host of her own weekly radio program, “Legal Lis,” Wiehl has her hands full. But instead of leaving it at those accomplishments, this single parent also writes best-selling legal thrillers in her spare time.

“We’re all trying to master the art of time management,” she says.

To help your juggling act, Wiehl is offering helpful advice:

• Know your goal: Before you can achieve your goals, you must identify them. If it helps to make a list, jot down what you hope to accomplish in the short-term and long-term, and post it somewhere handy.

• Know your strengths: Taking on projects that play upon your strengths can save you time and boost your morale. For example, if you want to try your hand at writing a novel, drawing upon your own experiences can make the process easier.

For instance, Wiehl’s most recent novel, “A Deadly Business,” is inspired by her life as a prosecutor working on high profile cases in the Violent Crimes unit while juggling the almost impossible demands of single parenthood.

• Know your weaknesses: Assess yourself honestly. For example, if you are a terrible driver or navigator, don’t take on hobbies or responsibilities that require extra time behind the wheel.

• Prioritize: You can’t stop the pace of time. So instead of drowning in your to-do list, think of it this way — what is it that you really need to get done today and what is it that you would like to do? Once you can whittle your list to the necessities, it will seem much more manageable.

• Be self-aware: Listen to your mood and take on tasks that you can be most effective at completing.

“Some days, I simply cannot write a word of fiction. I just don’t feel like it. If I listen to that voice, I take the day off and do something else, and then I return to the creative part of writing with fresh eyes,” says Wiehl.

• Be realistic: No one is perfect. As jugglers, the balls will not always stay up in the air. Don’t be hard on yourself when things slip. Your kids will understand too.

• Be honest: One of the most valuable lessons is learning how to say the hardest word in the English language — “No.” Saying “thanks, but no thanks” to things you don’t really want to do will free up some of that most precious commodity: time.

• Do your homework: Whether you’re thinking of a new business idea or a new hobby, do research. Gather your facts and armed with this information, you’ll be ready to make a decision and move forward.

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