Maybe you’re new to the concept of time management. Maybe life has suddenly become more busy with a new career or a new baby and you need some tools to get on top of your schedule. Maybe you’ve been drowning under your to-do list for a while and are looking for a way out. Time management is the answer, and here are the first steps to getting started with conquering your schedule. [Read more…]
Getting Started with Time Management: Track Your Time
At this point, you’ve performed a brain dump of every activity in your life (and the activities you’d like to include in your life) and have quite possibly recoiled in horror at the magnitude of it all. Before we attempt to bring order to the chaotic — and pages long — list, we need to do one more step. In the first post of this series, I said this:
To get on top of your schedule, you need to know what you have, what you don’t have, and what you need. [Tweet.]
Consider this: You want to organize your disaster of a closet. It currently has little to no structure at all, so you know you’ll need to get some closet rods, shelves, bins, and other supplies. Before you make your purchases, you write down a list of things you’d like to put in your closet and things you remember storing there. If you stop there and skip off to The Container Store without looking in your closet, you’re in for trouble. You’ll invariably find 30 clothing items more than you thought you had, along with four-foot stuffed Pooh. Then it’s back to The Container Store for you . . . with less skipping this time.
Likewise, while it’s a critical starting point and gets you flying down the path to success, it’s not enough to write down what you want in your schedule, what you recall having in your schedule, and what amount of time you estimate that each of those activities occupies. In order to create a time management plan that truly works for you, you need to see what’s really occupying your time and how long those tasks are really taking. [Read more…]
Getting Started with Time Management: Create a Time Map
You now have a comprehensive list of what you need to do, what you want to do, and estimates for each activity. You’ve also got documentation on your where your time currently goes. It’s time to put it all together!
Enter the time map.
Some people refer to this same tool as a time budget, drawing a nice analogy between planning your time and planning your spending. Either way, the concept is the same — you plan out your day or week by creating a personalized schedule for yourself. Here’s the process: [Read more…]
Getting Started with Time Management: Use a Planner
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If you are a planner person, then you don’t need to be convinced. Like me, your planner is probably one of the things you’d grab if your house were burning down around you.
If you’ve never used a planner — or if you’ve used the wrong planner — then you might be amazed by how much organization it can bring to your life.
I used to be a non-planner person. I thought planners were just portable calendars for business people with millions of meetings.
However, I eventually realized that I needed a planner so I could have a single, centralized method of organizing my time and making plans to reach my goals . . . and it worked. [Read more…]
Getting Started With Time Management: Keep It Working
If you’re just tuning in, check out the previous four posts in this series.
By now you’ve put together a system for yourself:
- You’ve taken stock of your goals and activities.
- You’ve taken a hard look at how you currently spend your time.
- You’ve built a time map based on how you spend your time and how you want to spend it.
- You’ve picked a planner that complements the way you think.
Now, with wild enthusiasm, you go full speed ahead . . . until one of two things happens: [Read more…]