Do you sometimes get to the end of a day and wonder where the time went? You were busy and it seemed that you did a lot of things, and yet, you didn’t seem to get a many things accomplished.
Instead of wondering where the time went, you can gain more control of your day by creating a time plan. It’s a simple concept that starts at the top of your day. Take 15-20 each morning to plan your consider how much time you will need to successfully manage each part of your schedule.
Do you really need to make a time plan at the beginning of the day? Yes and no. Creating a plan will help you get more done, but you can start working on it the evening before. Simply end your work day 20 minutes early and review what’s coming up for the next day.
So, as you create your time plan:
- Come up with a realistic estimate of how long each item (e.g., task, meeting, call, etc.) will take.
- Look for ways you can connect two tasks to each other (e.g., go to the bank and post office that are close in proximity to each other).
- Find opportunities to share tasks or remove something from your plan by delegating it to someone else.
- Do you need to build in time for interruptions? Add a block of time to respond to queries you put off because you were actively working your plan.
What are you time-wasters? Are you spending more and more time checking e-mail, looking at the latest pictures on Pinterest, or catching up with friends even though you have a deadline looming? To figure out what you’re focusing on, use your smart phone notes app, paper notebook, or Evernote to start tracking how you spend your time.
1. Select a week that you will start tracking your every move and click of your mouse (i.e., do your typical activities).
2. Record how you’re spending your time every day during that week.
3. Start being more strategic about where you put your energies. For example, instead of playing the game you just downloaded to your iPad, let game time be your reward after you’ve spent quality time with your important projects. And, work on those projects when you’re feeling alert and at your best.
4. Use your calendar to schedule all your activities (even the fun stuff).
5. Use a timer to help keep you on task.
Give this a try for three to four weeks (the minimum amount of time for a habit to form) and you should start noticing an improvement in your productivity.
I want to try every time management app there is! Are you like me? Looking for the right one for you? …the one that will stop you from goofing off?
Don’t follow in my footsteps, though. You’ll have to spend some quality time with a few apps at first, you know, to get to know them. Make it a fruitful experience and ask yourself these simple questions:
- Which is the easiest to use?
- Which one’s the most intuitive?
- Does it do all (or most) of what you need? *Sidebar: Do you know what you need?
Ultimately, you’ll have to settle down with the one.
If you choose multiple apps, you’ll probably get confused. Or, worse – you’ll do double duty and have to enter data in several places. Not a good use of your time, right?
So, in my quest to “see what’s out there,” I came across a few articles about good time management apps. Check them out and let me know which one you decide to use. Or, if you’ve already found your true match, I hope you’ll kiss and tell.