Punctuality Rules!

5 Tips for Better Time Management

5 Tips for Better Time Management

CB107990Imagine this: You’re busy all the time. You’ve got more assignments than you know what to do with. You’re running continually just to get things done and still find time to see your kids for five minutes once a week.

How did your schedule get away from you?

First, congratulations on being so busy that you’re almost too busy. Hopefully, most of your full schedule stems from your booming business.

Not that that’s necessarily true. You can be busy trying to build your business. Or running errands. Shuttling the kids back and forth to school and soccer practice.

Or maybe you’re simply not the most organized person.

So, how can you reel it back under control?

Keep a calendar.
Remember that old saw about “a place for everything, and everything in its place?” It not only works for keeping your home and office neat, it works for your time, too. Do you have things that need to be done? Write them down. Then you can not only stop worrying about remembering to do them, but you have the time blocked off for it to make sure you do.

Make a plan.
Take a few minutes every day to think ahead to what you need to do. Plot out where you need to be, what you need to get done. (Don’t forget to stop for lunch.) Even just 10 minutes at the beginning of the day will make your work flow purposefully, rather than bouncing around like the ball in a pinball machine. You have time at the beginning of the day, before you’ve started answering emails, before you’ve started making phone calls—take advantage of it! You’ll accomplish more than you think.

Take good notes.
I don’t know about you, but I have a good memory. I rarely forget birthdays, I’m never late to appointments, and I can remember details from jobs I finished months ago. Yet … sometimes it fails me. I’ll say, “No, I don’t remember why we made that change,” and will search frantically for an email to back it up and … nothing. So, take notes. You never know when your own memory will fail, so it’s better to be safe than sorry—it saves all that crazed trouble-shooting later on.

Stop goofing off.
I don’t want to tell you to stop reading blogs (especially mine), or to avoid those online forums that give you support and ideas. Those are good things—but like many good things, they’re better in small doses. Like junk food, or dessert, they’re delicious, tasty, enjoyable … but a steady diet will leave you feeling bloated and tired, with no energy to accomplish anything. You can still play with your online friends, just, like Mom always said, do your homework first!

Reward yourself.
But, of course, you still deserve to play. You can’t work ALL the time. Make sure you make the time to play with your kids, take your dog for a walk, joke with your friends on Twitter, spend time with your favorite hobby. There’s no point in earning enough money for a good life if you don’t take the time to enjoy it.

Okay—your turn. What are your favorite time-management tips?

5 thoughts on “5 Tips for Better Time Management

  1. Walter

    Time management may sound easy but the truth is it’s hard to make a viable one to where we religiously follow. The tips you have provided above are excellent but it takes dedication and discipline to make it happen. :-)

  2. Mary Brown

    “The shortest pencil is better than the longest memory.” But Deb already said that, pretty much.

    I agree, Walter. Discipline is definitely the biggest factor in making time management happen. It’s easy to say to write it all down and block off time for it, but if I don’t discipline myself to stop at the end of one block of time, or don’t allocate enough time for something with an irrevocable deadline (so everything else gets put on hold while I do that,) or I neglect to plan ahead for the one week in my month when 3 urgent projects converge, or any of a number of other miscalculations, I mess myself up.

    It’s not hopeless, though. We can (and hopefully do) learn from our mistakes and keep getting better. “One day at a time” is another good motto. (And don’t just take notes; have a filing system so you can find them again when needed.)

  3. --Deb

    I agree with both of you. You can create the best system in the world, but it’s not going to do you any good if you don’t follow it.

    Of course, since we’re moving today (I’m at the new house, waiting for the moving truck to get here), time management has pretty much been out the window for a couple weeks now… Which is probably why it’s been so much on my mind!

  4. David

    I think it’s necessary to have planning sessions with your spouse. I know my week goes by much smoother when I do. Also, plan short-term and long-term goal based on principles (ie. if family really is a top priority…and I hope it is with whomever is reading this) then aggressively carve the time out for quantity and quality time with spouse and kids.

  5. --Deb

    Good point … although, I don’t HAVE a spouse (grin). I’ll start discussing things with my dog, though, just to be sure… Of course, right now, I have nothing resembling a schedule at all. I’m still trying to find, well, everything!
    .-= –Deb´s last blog ..5 Tips for Better Time Management =-.