Time Management Skills to Get Your Day under Control

Time_ManagementAs we’ve said before when talking about the importance of time management, either at home or on the job, when you don’t manage your time well, you’ll have a pretty tough time getting done what you need to get done. Time management skills aren’t really difficult – you just need to… DO IT!

Here are a few time management tips and time management tools to use in your daily routine to help you keep time from managing you.

The Basics of Time Management

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of a time management scheduling book or calendar. Since I work at my desk most of the day, Microsoft Outlook keeps me on track with reminders that I have scheduled in (for instance, as I write this, I know I have a meeting at church this evening because the reminders keep popping up so I WON’T forget)… but, a hard copy calendar book, or a calendar app on your smart phone can keep you on track just as well. One of the things that I found out a long time ago is that writing things down helps me remember them. Because it sets things into your mind, the discipline of just entering something in the calendar becomes the first step to making it easier to stay on track.

  • At the start of each day, whether you use FranklinCovey or some other planning system, look over your day’s schedule.  At this point, you can map out your day in your head, or, if necessary, make adjustments.  Giving yourself some flexibility as you plan your day will allow more easily for unforeseen difficulties.
  • One really useful habit is confirming appointments or meetings. It lets you make sure nothing has changed, and makes sure you both go into the meeting with the same expectations. If you need to adjust the meeting time, don’t hesitate – both you and those with whom you meet may have a more productive meeting at the new time. Of course, try to keep your meetings within your “productive time zone” but make sure the person you’re meeting will also be similarly productive. Remember, meetings in the middle of the day take longer for you to regain your momentum after the meeting.

Don’t Over Commit Yourself

One of the worst time management problems is to, “over-plan” or try to do too much in one day. Remember the old adage, “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” Only plan what you can legitimately accomplish in each day. Planning may help you get more done each day, but it won’t give you more than 24 hours each day. Use your time wisely and don’t burn yourself out.

Your physical and mental health are important too.  Good time management skills include time to step back and reflect to gain perspective on what’s going on, what’s important, and where you need to focus your efforts most.

  • If you have children, the best time management is to allot time to the youngster’s activities before the school year starts and stick as closely to that plan as you can.
  • As you work, think about what committees or groups you to which you can add value without over-extending yourself. (I know I could do more at church, but I really don’t have time for it – so I don’t.) Spreading yourself too thin means everything gets short changed.

Today, the alarms in cell phones and smart phones are part of our time management system. Also, watches with alarms and timers are part of good time management. Just getting to an appointment on time will make a big difference in how productive you can be – and it shows the person with whom you meet respect that earns you more business.  So use timers and alarms to keep you on track and help you win more business.

Structure Your Day

Work to a specific schedule for the routine tasks in you day… email, answer phone calls, etc. This helps ensure you have the opportunities you need to get everything done. Good habits like this create a more efficient working environment that helps you get more done.

  • For instance, each morning, clean and straighten up the kitchen before heading off to work – outside the home or in a home office. First with the kitchen straightened up, we home office people won’t be tempted to break our concentration to do it during the day. And, when you get home, from inside or outside the house, you’ll be able to take a few minutes of, “decompress time” with your spouse or significant other before getting on with meal prep, getting the kids into homework mode, etc.
  • Then, in the evening, again, straighten up for the next day… which may include looking over your next day’s schedule to make sure you are mentally prepared for what you will face the next day… there’s nothing better than waking up in the morning and facing… a clean house! This kind of structure in your day will keep your mind clearer and you’ll feel more organized.

Good time management skills are important in your life, both business and personal. Always be a time management strategist to see how you can make your time more productive and get more time for your work, and more time for your family.


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