Time Management – What Works

A Simple Notebook Is All It Takes!Monday, I discussed the idea of time management and how it relates to our success in all facets of life. I could go on about the benefits but if you’re reading this, you get that part already. So what does work? As I mentioned before, no one system works for everyone. In fact, the systems that are the most popular in the public eye are routinely modified by the people who use them because we are all different. But a few things are common with just about all the systems I’ve studies and researched (not to mention tried) over the years. When putting together your own system, here’s what you need to do at its most basic:
1) Collecting
You have to collect all the “stuff” in your life. Having things floating around in your head is natural. Keeping it there is not. A simple notebook and pencil is all that is required to put those thoughts on paper and capture them so they don’t escape! Keeping a to-do list on the computer is nice but what if you’re out at a store and see something you want to research? You have to write it down. If a phone number catches your eye on some advertisement, you need to write it down. If you’re just starting out in putting together a time management system, you might want to go somewhere quiet and grab a cup of coffee or tea and do a “brain purge” where everything you need to do gets written on paper.  Every few months, I go back and make sure nothing is left in my head. After a while, the habit of writing things down will make this less and less of a pain!  The key is, you need to collect items as they come to you as foundation of your time management system.
2) Process
After writing things down, what do you do with them?  This is a key because for many, the ball will simply be dropped here and NOTHING gets done. I see it all the time. Processing your thoughts into manageable actions is a process that requires you to make some decisions. You can’t do everything all at once. Some things have must wait. Another thought you might have written may need to examined for a list of actions to process it. Whatever system you design must have a process point to it and the more often you process things, the better. This step makes you aware of what needs to happen to make your dreams a reality. What little things can you knock out quickly and what things do you need to manage? Miss this step and you will spin your wheels where you are forever.
3) Execute
This area is the most important of all three. While all three have their own important function they are useless if you do not execute. This is where many time management systems fall flat and for good reason. No author wants to tackle this in detail because the tendency for all of us is to lag a bit and do as little as necessary to maintain what they have. Actually achieving something extraordinary requires one to put an execution plan together and then see it through. Tell yourself what needs to be done. Manage time to make sure the most important things get done early in your day so you’re not dragging behind. Little things can wait until later in the day. EXECUTE. Do something! Get it done NOW.
So there is your three-step starter kit for putting together your own time management system. Get these three steps down and life will be a lot easier and you’ll see improvement very quickly.
Time Management – What Works

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