Why do you need time management tools? Well, if you’re like most people, your life is probably more than a little hectic. You have work responsibilities, family responsibilities, errands to run, and (if you are a student) worry about school. If you feel like you have too many things to do in a day, and there just isn’t enough time to get it all done, then incorporating a few simple time management tools into your life can make a huge difference.
Fortunately, you don’t have to pay through the nose for some complex, high tech piece of software to help organize your day. In fact, you probably already have access to most, if not all, of the essential time management tools. The trick is learning how to use them to actually manage your time.
The calendar is probably the granddaddy of time management tools. If there’s something you have to do on a specific day or at a specific time, jotting it down in a calendar is one way to make sure you won’t forget. In fact, just the act of writing this “appointment” down will help to keep it fresh in your mind.
But should you use an analog calendar (a physical calendar that you can carry around with you) or a digital one (a calendar that resides on your computer, iPhone, Blackberry, etc). One advantage digital calendars have is reminders that can be set to give you a mental nudge a few days or hours before important dates and times. However, you can get the same effect from a physical calendar. Every morning, take a look at what’s “upcoming” in the next seven days.
Time management tools don’t get much simpler than the classic, pocket notebook. Think about it. How many things do you think of during the day and tell yourself to remember later? How often do you end up forgetting those things? How much time do you spend trying to remember the things you know you have forgotten? Well, whether you know it or not, that process eats up a lot of your mental energy.
When you carry a notebook around with you, you can quickly jot down all of those little things that pop into your head every day. (And you’ll be surprised how many there actually are.) Now, you won’t have to worry about trying not to forget a whole list of stuff, or trying to remember the stuff you forget. Which allows you to focus on other things.
Later, you can go through your notebook and either do the things you jotted down, add them to your calendar to do later, or add them to your Master To Do List.
A To Do List
If you’re like a lot of people, you know the things you have to do in a day. And you try to keep that list of things in your head. But doing things this way, not only is there always the risk that you might forget one of those things, but having this amorphous blob of stuff floating around in your head can leave you feeling frazzled and out of control. Luckily, there is a time management tool that can restore a sense of order to the chaos of your day: The To Do List.
Every morning, make a list of the things you have to get done that day. Then go through the list and pick the 3 to 5 things you really need to do (or really want to do) today, and put the rest on your Master To Do List. Why only 3 to 5 things? Because you are only one person, there are only so many hours in a day, and you can’t do everything…no matter how much you wish you could.
Having a To Do List gives your day a sense of order and focus. And you shouldn’t add anything to your To Do List unless it’s really urgent. (For example, you just remembered you have to buy those concert tickets before 6 p.m.) Everything else either goes in your notebook or your Master To Do List, to be considered later.
Time is a precious commodity. And a few simple, basic time management tools can help you make the most of your time.