3 Time Management Rules; Schedule it, write it down and Stick to It

 
3 Time Management Rules; Schedule it, write it down and Stick to It

Time ManagementThe hardest part about time management is making a real commitment to following a schedule. It can be especially difficult for people who work for themselves to work on any type of schedule. It can feel wrong somehow to keep a schedule as an entrepreneur. However, keeping a schedule is going to increase your success exponentially. Putting your schedule in writing will help you follow it. Below you will find a few ideas to help you get started;

Use Your Smartphone – Today’s phones are really mini computers. You can have your entire life on there, including your work schedule with alarm reminders and everything. If you see a popup on your phone every time you go to use Facebook, reminding you of tasks that need to be done, you will not have much of an excuse for not doing them.

Try Google Calendar – If you have a Gmail account, then you already have access to a powerful system that can help you put your time in writing, while helping you keep track. You can easily set up different calendars for different aspects of your life and colour code the entries. Further you can print out a calendar each day or sync to your smart phone so that you don’t forget anything.

Try a Project Management System – Project management systems like Basecamp can help you put your schedule into writing, and organize it to. You can use this system whether or not you outsource tasks to others by just assigning the work to yourself if you don’t have others to assign them to. You’ll get an email reminder before the task is due.

Use Evernote – This nifty little program can be used to help you keep track of your schedule, notes for projects, and more. It has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get used to it you’ll enjoy using it to keep track of many tasks.

Try the good “Old-Fashioned” Date Book – The old Filofax still exists and many people prefer it to using technology. If you’re one that does, don’t despair because many people stay better organized with everything in writing in one single notebook. If that’s you, you can still do it that way.

Use a Large Whiteboard – The great thing about having a large whiteboard on your office wall is you can’t escape the tasks that need to be done since they are very obvious. You can also feel accomplished as you erase things as they get done.

Use Time Tracking Software – FreshBooks.com comes with time tracking software that enables you to keep track of what you’re doing easily once you set up names for them. Make entries for using social media, making phone calls, even doing the washing up, and you’ll soon figure out where you’re wasting time. You can’t get time back, so it’s nice to know where it all went.

Create a Contract with Yourself – Actually put your promises and goals into writing in the form of a contract. Write down in black and white what you will do, what your work hours are, and what you plan to do during those work hours. Then sign it.

Setting a schedule and sticking to it requires commitment to your business as if it is a job. This isn’t to say that it won’t be more flexible than a job. But, if you have to move the two hours you wanted to work on a particular project, due to a family emergency, you need to then take time from elsewhere to replace the two hours you were going to work. Seeing the schedule in writing will help you schedule things the best by making a visual representation of your day.

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor

 

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Mike Gardner - The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor helps the overworked and overwhelmed learn to say 'No' nicely, and improve their management of time, emails and meetings. He is also an avid fan of Aston Villa, a Dad of Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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8 thoughts on “3 Time Management Rules; Schedule it, write it down and Stick to It

  1. Thanks for pointing out the value of writing down and sticking to a schedule. Having those items sitting on your whiteboard, pocket notebook or “Remember the Milk” online reminders plays off of the Zeigarnik Effect to cause your subconscious to nag you about tasks that are nearly done.
    Rob Knowlan recently posted…Evergreen NicheMy Profile

  2. That’s the problem, Mike – too many choices!!

    I have used most of the systems you’ve canvassed and the trick is to pick one or two and work them. These days, now I’m not travelling so much, I use my phone app and a physical calendar.

    It’s less about the tool and more about the discipline of being clear on the goals, tasks and not being sidetracked.

    Time management is very simple, but it’s not easy.
    Mel Day recently posted…Do You Intend, Commit or Resolve to Get Things Done?My Profile

  3. Great ideas, and suggestions, I like to use my old fashioned diary/scheduler, I guess not from the mobile generation, I feel I need to write it down and visualise the calendar in front of me. Perhaps different learning styles prefer different ways on keeping appointments.

  4. Great tips and for me the most valuable is to treat my time as if I was really running a business! I have lots of ‘to do’ lists which pop up all over the place but I’m very good at ignoring them. I have a lot to learn when it comes to those ‘other’ little things which need doing. If its editing I’m usually great at getting that done but the adminy things…. can’t I just hire a PA?

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