Is it time you improved your personal time management skills? If you find yourself leaving things until the last minute and feeling stress, time management tracking can help. You can create your own time management planner with actual time management software, a simple table, or even a chart you draw yourself. Read on to learn time management skills and create time management tools tailored to your own life.
Create a table for an effective time management system. Using a spreadsheet, create one row for each day of the week. Then add an eighth column so you can have times running vertically. List these times on your time management planner in one hour, half hour, or quarter hour increments, depending on your preference.Credit: Amberdawn 2011
Enter the times that you sleep. Sleep is the most important personal time management commitment you can make. It's important for your health as well as your productivity that you budget for 8 hours of sleep every night. Use blue to color code it on your time management planner. Credit: Amberdawn 2011
Put activities that are your top priorities next. Your top priorities are committments that you can't easily change, that occur regularly each week. This will probably be your work hours if you work full time or your classes if you are a full time student. Color these red.
Credit: Amberdawn 2011Work your secondary activities that are set times into your personal time management system next. These may be part time classes, a part time job, or weekly commitments such as volunteer work. These activities are still non-negotionable committments. However, if you find that you've taken on too many part time classes if you have to work full time, or taken on too many hours at your part time job if you are in school full time, you might need to cut back on your committments. Only you can prioritize and make this decision, but seeing it in living color will help you clearly see if you've taken on more than you can feasibly accomplish. Color these orange.
Calculate how many hours are left using your time management software or add them by hand. You may be surprised how much time you really have that could be put to good use! In the next stage you are going to use large blocks of leftover periods and minimize small, useless blocks.
Credit: Amberdawn 2011Enter “flex times” into your time management system. These include housework, mealtimes, exercising, studying, and other activities. The hardest thing when you learn to use time management tools is to fit these types of activities your day, because you need to estimate how long they will take you. The good news is these activities can be moved at your digression. Fit these into your plan for effective time management tracking how much energy you will have at that point in the day, as well as whether it will leave you with enough energy for the activity after. Color these yellow on your personal time management planner.
Leave white space in your effective time management tracking chart for downtime. This is unstructured time that you can use for recreation and you don’t need to plan what you do in these times. It is very important to have an allotment for downtime. First, when you are just starting out with the system, you are likely to misjudge how long activities will take you. However, even when you've used the system for a few weeks and fine tuned the blocks you've alloted, you still need to have some downtime for your mental health. Everyone needs downtime. Just leave blank periods in your time management system for these.
Try your new time management planner for a few weeks. When you learn time management tracking problems are inevitable, so do not give up on using this process. Stick with tool you've created beause trial and error will help you refine your chart. To help you prioritize, note what works, and which “flex times” you need to move, increase, or decrease in order for your personal time management tools to work. For more information on an effective time management system, I have included additional resources. Good luck!