By Jody Long Everyone is looking for ways to become more efficient: They're upgrading to a faster phone. They're getting a car with better gas mileage. They're trying to figure out how to reach their fitness goals in less time. But have you ever thought out making your day more efficient? Most of us work an 8 hour day. And most of us, whether you realize it or not, are looking for ways to fit more in those 8 hours. Next time you stop to think about your 8 hour day, keep these ideas in mind. * Early bird or night owl? Is there a better time of day that works better for you? You may find that you are more productive first thing in the morning. If this is the case, be sure to schedule your more difficult tasks before lunch. * Keep a calendar. This may sound too simple, but be sure you have one that you like to use. If you don't like carrying a day planner, try the calendar on your phone. Make sure it's easy to see, and easy to access. If others need to see your schedule too, consider using Google Calendars, or one that works with your email program such as Lotus Notes. * Get it over with. Most of us like to do our easiest or fun tasks first, and put off the ones we aren't looking forward to. Get out of this habit, and get the hard things done first. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. Break the task down into pieces, and tackle each piece separately. Ease your way into it, chipping away a little at a time. But also keep the deadline in mind. * Give yourself a cushion. More often than not, our work tasks take longer than normal. (See our post on interruptions.) Your best bet is to allow yourself more time. If you think something will take you 20 minutes, schedule 30 just to be on the safe side. You'll allow yourself time to breathe between each chore. * Relax. In the middle of a busy day, schedule yourself some relaxation time. This doesn't mean you have to sit in the dark and meditate, but what it does mean is that you should allow yourself to be removed from your work for a short amount of time. Take your allotted time for lunch, take a walk outside, get away from your desk. And last but not least ... if it doesn't get done today, be sure to transfer it to tomorrow's to-do list.