Time management does not come naturally to me. Managing my own time is something that I have had to work at. And, good time management is something that I find works best if you apply one or two systems. Here are my two tips for improving your time management:
1. Use a calendar
Sounds simple, yes? But, I use a calendar for everything. Every meeting and discussion that is planned goes into my calendar. Additionally, I also include tasks that need to be done, followed by planning the time for these tasks and then blocking the time in my calendar.
I plan long-term, non-urgent tasks in advance and block the time to complete them.
At the start of each day, I write a list of any additional tasks that need to be completed. Where possible, I include the time of the day when I will do these things. Each task gets crossed out once it is completed. If it is the end of the day and something has not been crossed out, I put it into the list for the following day, or find an actual time-slot in my calendar to perform the task at a later date.
2. Keep your inbox clean
Again, this sounds simple. But, almost every day I see someone’s inbox with 200+ emails and 50+ not even read. Part of my solution is to be honest with myself. If I really don’t think I will do anything about an email, I won’t keep it in my inbox “just-in-case”.
When reading a new email, I immediately decide if I’ll do something with the email. If not, I will delete or archive it. If I plan to do something with the email, I’ll either do it straight away (for small tasks) or plan the task into my calendar. Once the task is planned, I’ll move the email to the relevant folder and also put a copy in my calendar if necessary.
It seems that a lot of people use their inbox as a “to-do” list. They leave the email in the inbox as a reminder to do something and this is how they “plan” their work. But, cleaning out my inbox forces me to actually plan tasks in my calendar and make time for the tasks.
Both of these ideas are simple. What works for me is the combination of the two ideas. Why not share your own time management ideas in the comments below? Also, click here for information on how to further improve your time management.