Time management tips to make life easier

Americans love to be "in the know." Whether it's through cable news, newspapers, websites or social media updates and e-mails from our friends, we love to be informed about the day's events and gossip.

But sometimes even the most avid media junkies can get information overload-causing important work and family matters to get lost in the shuffle.

Parents may start to wonder if they're ignoring their kids and losing precious family time. And conversation seems to be a dying art with every generation. It appears we could all use some help deciding what information is relevant to us and what's not.

"Each of us has the power to transform a continuous information flow from distraction into a tool of empowerment," says Stefania Lucchetti, author of the new book, "The Principle of Relevance."

"You just need to be able to recognize what is relevant for you in relation to your day's objectives and what isn't, and then respond only to the relevant info," she said.

This is especially true when it comes to sorting through a flooded e-mail inbox. Here are some of Lucchetti's tricks for "owning" your inbox:

Limit checking time. Your inbox is not a pager. You are not obliged to have it open all the time. Doing so is likely to reduce your productivity. Try limiting your e-mail checking time to five 30-minute periods daily. With some practice, you may even get it down to once a day. Imagine what you can do with all that free time!

Quickly read everything. You need to know what information you are working with before responding, otherwise you may answer an e-mail only to find out five emails later that your point is moot. Wait 15 minutes before responding to anything; this gives you time to decide what's relevant instead of reacting without thinking.

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