24 Time Management Tips

Where does your time go? We all know we are busy, yet we feel behind and don't get to do the things we really want to do.

Planning is the best time saver there is. At the beginning of the week jot down your goals that you want to accomplish, fun things you want to do, work that needs to be done, and appointments to keep. Then write out a loose schedule for the week ahead, balancing it out between work, family, home, self and your other roles.

You can choose to put your action items on daily to do lists or schedule them on a calendar like appointments. How you keep track of your things to do for the week, depends on how much structure you personally like or need.

When you plan, it is helpful to schedule things for twice as long as you expect them to take. That gives you extra time for those traffic jams, interruptions, and fun, spontaneous moments. I try to plan on leaving 10 minutes earlier than I have to, for all my appointments, in case of unexpected delays.

My weekly planning session usually takes less than thirty minutes. My planning session includes gathering my papers and going through the in-box to find action items as David Allen suggests in his book "Getting Things Done". I also plan goals, next action items for my projects, plan a two hour time alone, plan family night, and plan a date with my husband. I schedule work, exercise, fun time, time with friends and family, volunteer work, and self-care time. Planning allows the important to take precedent over the urgent for once.

But, be flexible with your plan. Remember you are not a slave to your planner. It is there to serve you. If your time management system isn't working, tweak it.

Here are some more time management tips:

  • Know what's important to you. Figure out your values and your vision.

  • Start delegating to family members, co-workers, professionals, and teenagers needing extra money.

  • Learn to say no to what is not in your mission or your values.

  • Let go of perfectionism. Not everything has to be done perfectly and some things are out of your control.

  • Listen to audio tapes or mp3's during your commute or household tasks.

  • Use a planner or PDA that includes a daily to do list, a weekly calendar, a monthly calendar, a listing of projects, telephone numbers and important information.

  • Empty out your planner of the clutter and junk. Put the little pieces of paper in an in-box to go through in your weekly planning session.

  • Keep your planner with you at all times.

  • Do not keep a bunch of calendars around. Use only one so everything is in one place.

  • Keep a master list of all the things you need to do, call, see, write, etc. Don't use post-it notes all over. They seem to get lost.

  • Answer routine letters by answering them on the original. Photocopy your message for your own files then send off the original.

  • Cut down on TV time. Plan your TV time so you only watch the shows you really wanted to see. If you are watching, clean during commercials or sew while viewing.

  • Look at your schedule and lay out all the things you need for the next day, the night before.

  • Tidy your desk before you leave work so it will be clean for the next session.

  • Try to spend time on planning and important things so you are not always "putting out fires."

  • Use a timer to keep you from spending too much time on one thing or to challenge you when you are cleaning.

  • Relax when you are relaxing and work when you are working.

  • Make goals and rewrite goals every few months, so you have a focus.

  • Clear the clutter from your desk.

  • Go through your files once a year to get rid of paper you no longer need. Saves space and time. Or go through a file each time you put something in it, to keep your files current.

  • Get rid of things that don't work, especially pens. Save yourself some frustration.

  • Start with the worst item on your to do list. Everything else will be a piece of cake. You also won't be thinking and dreading it while doing other tasks. Procrastination sucks out your energy.

  • Be sure to bring things to do like reading, writing a letter, paying bills etc., when you know you will have to wait someplace.

  • A couple of times a year, keep a time log. Jot down everything you do for a day or two. Then examine where your time does not match what is important to you.

    It's your life. If you don't manage your time, other people will manage it for you.

    About The Author

    © Beth Dargis 2004

    Beth Dargis works with overwhelmed women to create saner, simpler lives. Are you in need of a break? Take the self-care quiz: http://www.encouragingcoach.com/projects-selfcare-quiz.htm

    bethd@encouragingcoach.com

    In The News:


  • pen paper and inkwell


    cat break through


    Self Care

    What does it mean to practice self care? It's creating... Read More

    Time Management: How To Manage Your Time So Your Home Business Will Flourish

    If you operate any kind of home business, you must... Read More

    Biggest Time Management Mistake

    The biggest time management mistake you can ever make is... Read More

    Living Life In A Time Starved World

    Recently I saw an advertisement for a time management booklet:... Read More

    Time Management: A Non-Renewable Resource

    Benjamin Franklin wrote: "If you want to enjoy one of... Read More

    Four Simple Ways To Take Control Of Your Time And Your Life

    It's been said, "That no one has enough time yet,... Read More

    Pacing Yourself Through Change

    OK...let's assume that you're truly motivated to change. Great. But... Read More

    Creating A Not-To-Do List

    When I sit down with a client to work on... Read More

    More Precious Than Gold

    In this world there is something more precious than gold.... Read More

    How to Define a Successful Time Management Strategy

    One of the most challenging aspect in life is time... Read More

    The Keepers of Time

    I give presentations on organizational skill building as it relates... Read More

    The Ultimate Virtual Reality

    I used to think video game addictions were a joke... Read More

    Are You Running Out of Time?

    Here's some time management tips to try:1) Set strict office... Read More

    What is ?Life Balance? and How Can You Attain It?

    We all face decisions that involve doing things that affect... Read More

    Time Management - Working Smarter at Work

    Let's look at your time management skills. Most of us... Read More

    Overcoming Procrastination

    Procrastination, the habit of putting tasks off to the last... Read More

    How to Make More Time For Your Life

    Do you wish you could work less and play more?... Read More

    Time Management Lessons from a 3 Year Old

    Zak is my three-year old godson. He is the apple... Read More

    The Kaizen of Goal Setting

    There is an old way of goal setting and a... Read More

    Keeping Time

    What keeping time really means is...being on time!You know, there... Read More

    The Power of 90 Seconds

    You can use the Power of 90 Seconds to transform... Read More

    Time Management

    Isn't it amazing that some people can produce huge results... Read More

    Make Time Work For You

    Any habit of mind or body that interferes with taking... Read More

    Top Ten Motivators

    Setting goals is the easy part -- but sticking with... Read More

    Time Management: Eliminate Time Killers to Gain More Hours Every Day

    There are two types of time killers in everyone's life.... Read More

    31 Ways to Get An Extra Hour Out of Each Day

    How can you get an extra hour out of each... Read More

    How Can I Get Some Time to Myself?

    "I never seem to have any time for myself. What... Read More

    How Would You Like to Capture Some Time?

    Women's health issues often are focused on goals to reach:... Read More

    10 Time Management Tips for Busy Professionals

    If you feel like your life moves faster than a... Read More

    5 Tips To Get More Out Of Your Work Day

    It's easy to waste time on things that seem urgent... Read More

    Setting Time Aside For Studying And Homework

    When trying to achieve a quality education, everybody knows that... Read More

    Winning The Fight Between You And The Clock

    "Slaves to the clock" was the cover story in the... Read More

    Work at Home Moms: Time Management Tips

    "How do you DO it?!" If I had a dime... Read More