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Multitasking Shutterstock By John White Are you currently attending or considering going back to grad school while juggling a demanding career and a busy family life? If so, welcome to my world! With two small children, a full-time position in sales and marketing, an executive MBA program, and blogging for various media channels, I am crazy busy these days. I have been forced to learn how to effectively manage my time. I have done so by having valuable conversations with my mentors, being well-read on the subject, and from trial and error. Here are a few tips for optimal time management that I swear by:

Create a Schedule and Stick to It

The only way to stay on top of everything when you are as busy as I am is to go about it in an organized manner, plan ahead, and create a schedule. I highly recommend you download a calendar-sharing app on your mobile devices that allows you to share your calendar with your spouse, so that everyone stays on the same page. My wife and I use Google Calendar, which shares nicely across both iOS and Android.

Find Balance

Many people have a hard enough time just creating work/life balance. Adding school to the mix makes it exponentially harder. In order to find a balance and remain healthy, it is important to seek ways to relieve your stress. My biggest stress relief comes every Thursday night when I play tennis with my men's league. One pro tip that will make a huge difference in the quality of your family life: Make sure to be home every night for dinner. Studies show that families that eat dinner together are happier and more functional. Visit the family dinner project to learn more.

Discover Your Peak Time

What time of the day are you at your best? Effective time management is to strategically place tasks in order from most important to least important. Plan your most critical tasks during that time. My peak time is after I have my second cup of coffee in the morning, between 9:00-11:30am.

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Rid Yourself of Distractions

First and foremost, drastically reduce or completely eliminate television. Additionally, cut back on the time you spend on social media for personal or entertainment reasons. Social media is full of distractions: games, chats, apps, pictures, videos, memes, etc. Instead, focus on career-impacting activities on social media. Optimize your workspace so that it enables you to focus, and is distraction free. If your home is like mine and there are children at play, the noise levels can be loud when trying to get work done. Try investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones.

Utilize These Time Crunching Smartphone Apps:

Evernote is a must-have productivity tool that enables you to record all of your notes, ideas, images, and business cards. You can share things in various ways via voice, typed notes, or photos. Forgetting your password is a major productivity killer. Having to go through the “forgot password” reset process is a major pain. Keep track of all your passwords with the free, easy-to-use Universal Password Manager, which uses a 256-bit AES encryption to keep all of your data secure. Launchy is a free cross-platform tool that substantially reduces keystrokes and time spent navigating your desktop to launch files, bookmarks, folders, websites, apps, etc. I sincerely hope that I have provided you with some valuable time-saving tips and ideas that you can implement into your busy life that will both increase your productivity and enhance your relationships with those whom you hold close. Feel free to continue the conversation in the comment section by adding your own methods for managing your time. John White is a dad, MBA candidate, sales and marketing expert, B2B technology and communications consultant, and blogger.

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