Time management is tough. I've struggled with it all my life, or as long as I can remember. Trust me, I've tried your system too. So I decided to go back to basics and give time management another try.
Thank you to my wife and a bit of patience, I think I've got a system that should work now. The fact is that those of us that are bad at time management are bad at it because we don't practice it. And we don't practice it or use it because we are bad at it. Kinda like a catch 22.
We tend to think that spending time planning the next tasks or projects is time that could be better spent. But that's where the problem lies. The past few months have shown me that you absolutely most definitely need to set time aside for time management. Sounds funny, but it's true.
The whole system revolves around having things planned out, prioritized and time-blocked. You must schedule time to schedule your tasks, projects, weeks and months.
You should be able to do all this in one sitting, but maybe it takes a while at first. One thing to note, these need to be done in parallel so you don't loose track of time and get disappointed.
We start by scheduling the year in the first couple weeks of January. Focus on Holidays, Birthdays, Vacations and other big long term events.
Plan Next month, or at least the tasks and projects you expect already. If you see that you have a holiday or birthday, designate the tasks or appointments you need to get it done on time.
On Sunday, review the upcoming week and fill in gaps, do some basic time-blocking and review reminders.
Each night before closing the day's work, review the tasks and projects worked on and completed. Anything incomplete moves to the next day. Be sure to update the project management system or task list. Review appointments.
Review Early morning tasks, double-check time-blocking. Knock out appointment or time-block and revisit tasks, projects, appointments and time-blocking.
Each step becomes more atomic and although it sounds like a lot, I think with time I'll be able to master it and not even think about it. So far I've been pretty good about it.
To help me manage all this I use several tools which I hope to cover in an upcoming blogpost:
- Google Calendar
- Google Tasks
Mavenlink Streak / CRM
- Remember The Milk
Influences in my system come from various sources, Getting Things Done, Inbox Zero and a couple others. My wife of course gets credit for dumbing things down for me and helping me focus on simpler methods.
I know you have some good time management tips or tricks that make you more efficient. Care to share some in the comments below?