Tag Archive: time management tools



One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when it comes to managing their time is not having a system in place to support their productivity.  Effective time management incorporates a set of tools, and habits that when utilized properly allow you to get optimal value out of your time. The initial tool is the paper or digital tool that fits your personality. The additional elements include:

  • A master task list that includes everything you have to do and a daily to-do list
  • Supportive habits because your habits will make or break you
  • Knowing what your priorities are
  • Scheduling and planning your week and being realistic about it! Your calendar or daily agenda should look like a well organized closet. A well organized closet has spaces for shoes, hats, scarves, sweaters and the like, so that things are orderly. You want to maintain that same order with your calendar so before you add something look to see if you have room for it and exactly where it can go.
  • Delegating. We all have things that we can pass along to someone else to do and it helps tremendously when we take advantage of that opportunity. It not only leaves time for you to work on something else, but increases your productivity.
  • Saying “no.” Take time to think about things before making a decision. Do you actually have the time? Does it align with your goals and values? Think about that well organized closet as a reminder and keep in mind that just because something needs to be done, doesn’t mean that you have to do it.
  • An organized workspace. A person who works with a cluttered desk spends about 1½-2 hours each day looking for things. That’s 7½-10 hours of your time spent each week that could be dedicated to something productive. Do the math and not only does the time start to add up quickly, but the monetary costs do too.

You might not think of some of these as part of a system, but they truly are.  Without all the pieces in place, you have gaps and your productivity suffers becasue you have nothing to support you.  Get each of these pieces in place, and incorporate them along with the use of a tool that’s the perfect fit for your time management personality.

 



As promised, this post will give you some insight on digital tools.  If digital tools fit your time management personality you have a host of tools to choose from. You have Palm Pilots, BlackBerry’s along with an array of handheld computers and mobile phones to choose from.  Both will help you manage your time with the calendar and task list features.  It will also let you store and manage your contact list and even write and save handwritten notes to yourself.  Some of the higher end models serve as a PDA and mobile phone and will also let you manage your email.

With BlackBerry you can access up to 10 email accounts-not that I recommend anyone have 10 different email accounts.  You can also manage your media files, access the internet and get maps and directions on a BlackBerry and have hundreds of apps to choose from.

Digital tools can be synchronized with your laptop or desktop and you can print what ever you choose from each.  These two features are great if you have an assistant or someone who needs to access your schedule or other information.  They can do so from your computer or from what you’ve printed, provided that you keep your computer updated and print the updated information.

Digital tools offer you the ability to search for information quickly, group and rearrange tasks and easily back up.  Of course, as with any great thing there are some disadvantages.  You can only view one screen at a time and for some, archived information is not easily referenced.

Now, as far as purchasing a PDA, you can find some handhelds at your favorite office supply store, but before you venture out, do your homework to see the various models available and the features that each tool has. If you’re interested in a mobile phone option, check with your mobile service provider to see which models they carry.  Not everyone carries each model and some may be exclusive to particular providers.  Choose a tool that gives you the features that you need, learn how to use each of them and optimize its use.

Now that you have information on paper and digital tools available to you, you can choose your time management tool.  Make your choice based upon your time management personality.  If you don’t know what your time management personality is, take time to discover it. Once again, I invite you to check out my Personalizing Time Management audio series to go through that process, learn the other elements of a solid time management system and set it up.

 


In your endeavors to manage your time you may have already chosen a tool to help you manage your time and it didn’t work for you.  You’re not by yourself; this happens all of the time.  Years ago, a friend purchased the latest and greatest  Palm Pilot and started to implement its use instead of using her paper planner.  She absolutely hated the Palm.  Now, understand it wasn’t the tool; it performed perfectly well.  The problem was that it wasn’t the tool for her.  It didn’t fit her time management personality.  Which is why when she went back to using her paper planner, things were just fine.

People make the mistake of choosing a time management tool without knowing their time management personality.  Choosing a tool that fits your personality is key in effectively managing your time.  Discovering your time management personality will lead you to understanding what type of tool is right for you.  In the next couple of posts I’m going to share information on the various tools and the benefits of each.

If you discover that paper tools fit your time management personality or a then you have paper time management tools to choose from.  Planners such as the Franklin Covey planner, Day Timer, Day Runner and other planners as well as the option of wall and desk calendars.  If paper tools are your perfect fit, I let me just say that I highly recommend Franklin Covey.   Their planner is the most detailed and efficient, with a system for managing your time.

You might choose one of these or even a desk or wall calendar as your tool.  All can be purchased from your local office supply-yes, even Franklin Covey has their planners available in local office supply stores or you can visit the Franklin Covey store if there’s one near you or visit their website.  They allow you to design your own planner step by step to include what you need and there are also software options available.  All three give you a range of binders and accessories to choose from which lets you personalize your planner.

Paper options have the advantage of no system to learn, and by no system I mean computerized system.  It’s natural so you’re not charging or replacing batteries, you can easily flip through the pages and store the old pages for future reference.  On the other hand, some say it’s not easy to find things quickly as with an electronic tool, but when your personality is a fit for a paper tool, this isn’t an issue for you because you tend to remember where on a page you wrote something.

Paper tools can be bulky, but using the binder storage can lighten your load.  One downside is that there’s no way to back them up and others can’t access it so easily since you would be carrying it with you, so anyone needing access to your planner would only have access to it while you were in the office.  One word about desk and wall calendars.  These tools are helpful, but they aren’t portable.  If you are away at a meeting you don’t have your calendar with you for reference if you should need it.

Next up, I’ll share some information about digital tools.  If you have a tool that’s not working for you, it’s possible that the tool doesn’t fit your time management personality.  If you’d like to take the steps to discover your time management personality, I invite you to check out my Personalizing Time Management audio series.  This series will walk you through the steps and will also teach you the other elements of a solid time management system, how to set it up and maintain it.


Many people experience the feeling of not having enough time to get everything done.  There are step to take toward effectively managing time; finding the appropriate tool, setting up systems and using various techniques to get things done.  One such technique is the Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro Technique is a method for managing time that is said to make time an ally.  It was created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s after attempting to improve his study habits while a university student in Rome.  He started to use a kitchen time shaped like a tomato, (Pomodoro in Italian) to help him stay on task. In the late ’90s the technique was used by professional teams.

The purpose of the technique is to rid one of anxiety, enhance concentration and focus, strengthen determination and boost motivation and increase awareness of decisions and support determination to achieve what you set out to do.  It’s founded upon three assumptions:  a different way of looking at time, which dispels anxiety; better use of the mind and employing simple tools to apply the technique.

This method has a good foundation for getting through the things on your to-do list. In upcoming posts, I’ll share more about the Pomodoro technique and how you can use it to help you get from “to-do” to “done” on a regular basis.

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