I love helping my clients spend more of their time doing what they want to, and less of it doing what they have to!
- Identify your priorities, goals, and time wasters.
- Create an ideal schedule and use it to help you make decisions.
- Decide what tools are likely to work best for you and commit to them.
- Batch your tasks and block your time.
- Budget time and energy like you do money.
- Use one calendar that combines personal and work schedules.
- Keep a long master to-do list, but a very short daily to-do list.
- Break projects down into actionable steps.
- Regularly clear the clutter from your master to-do list (do, dump, delegate).
- Keep a capture device handy and use it.
- Use an action file to avoid mystery piles and streamline paper tasks.
- Schedule regular planning sessions with yourself.
- Create your own routines and checklists.
- Learn how to say no and deal with interruptions.
- Create a not-to-do list and a back-burner list.
(Hmmm…. It appears that I have just identified a few new blog post topics!)
But there’s something that, if you did none of these other things, would help you become more productive and less stressed.
One thing that you can do to ensure that something actually gets done.
So, what is my #1 best time management tip?
On your calendar.
All of it.
You are worth making appointments with!
Most people schedule appointments such as business meetings, doctor visits, and kids’ soccer practices so they won’t forget. They realize how important it is to keep appointments with other people.
But hardly anyone schedules appointments with themselves. And why not? Are you not worth making regular appointments with? Are you waiting for “spare time”? Or for “someday” to arrive?
How to reverse engineer a project:
When it comes to tasks, scheduling them can help you to ensure that a multi-part project gets done on time. Some people call it reverse engineering. All it means (in the context of time management) is planning. When it comes to a project with a deadline, or a target goal date, it’s helpful to start with the target date and work backwards.
Let’s say you are planning a party.
What day is the party? How soon before that day do you need to mail the invitations (or make the phone calls)? Which days, prior to having company, would be best for cleaning house and shopping for groceries (or calling the caterer)? What else do you need to do? What can you delegate? If you haven’t scheduled these tasks on your calendar, they will just be sitting on your to-do list, nagging at you. You will be hoping they’ll get done, and wondering when they’ll get done, and stressed about the possibility of their not getting done. On the other hand, if you know that all the tasks are scheduled, and you find yourself with a free moment — don’t over-schedule yourself! — you can relax knowing everything has been taken into account.
What if you don’t feel like it?
If the time comes for a particular task that you have scheduled, and you just don’t feel like doing it, or if something comes up and you really can’t do it, that’s OK. Your schedule is a tool, not a slave driver. You’re still in control and you can always reschedule. (Note: This only works if you’ve left a little wiggle room and haven’t planned to do it at the very last minute.) But if it’s scheduled – on your calendar, not just in your brain — it’s less likely that you will forget that you wanted, or needed, to do it.
Do you really have to schedule everything?
Well….it would be tedious to write down every single thing you do in a day, including brushing your teeth and making your bed. But why not create a Morning Routine, figure out how long it takes you, and schedule your Morning Routine on your calendar? (This, of course, can apply to any routine.)
What do you think?
Do you schedule tasks and make appointments with yourself?
Do you reverse engineer your projects?
Please share in the comments below!
Copyright 2016 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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