by Angela Fairbanks
There are countless seminars, workshops, and planners designed to teach us how to simplify our lives. The idea that we should spend more time and more money to save time and save money seem backward until you stop and understand the formula and the process behind bettering your time management system. Here are three straightforward systems to follow this morning to help you better manage your time by bedtime tonight.
1) Utilize software
Utilize software that is designed to help you track your time and use it most efficiently. TimeClockGo.com is an easy-to-use software platform designed to help people keep track of work hours. According to their website, a person can "Easily track time on any device to streamline payroll, send accurate invoices and save thousands each year." They do allow a generous free trial period, so you can check out their services to make sure it is a good fit before committing. Another important time-related software platform used by many is Timetrade.com. Timetrade is an appointment scheduler that easily integrates with your Google calendar. It generates a link that can be placed inside your email or other documents, allowing others to schedule an appointment with you quickly. That appointment then syncs automatically with your Google calendar. It almost seems like magic!
2) Simple Tools
In addition to using software platforms to help you better manage your time, you can implement some simple tools daily that will yield significant results. The first recommended tool is called a Timed Timer. You can find these on Amazon. A Timed Timer is similar to a regular countdown timer in that it counts down from one hour. The main difference is the big, red visible swipe that appears and subsequently diminishes as time runs out. There is no sound to the timed timer. I prop mine up close to wherever I am working, always to visualize how much time I have left to work on a project. The Timed Timer motivates me to stay on task.
Another easy to implement solution is to set an audible timer on your computer to announce the time every half hour. Having the time told sounds like an insignificant thing, but it yields significant results. You would be amazed at how quickly time passes when surfing the internet or wandering through social media. The startling announcement of the time often snaps you back into reality with a jolt! An added benefit is that if you are on a Zoom call, it helps keep the meeting moving along. A quick YouTube search will give you instructions on how to do this, or here is a link at the time of this blog for Mac instructions.
The CDC has a handy PDF free of charge that is a stress self-checklist. Utilizing a tool like this weekly or bi-weekly and the tools mentioned above helps make sure you are on track with self-care. You can best manage your time if you take care of yourself and manage your stress level before getting out of control.
3) Block Scheduling
The third recommendation is block scheduling. Arrange your schedule for the week with set chunks of time on set days for assigned types of activities.
First of all, I advise you to do this monthly. Start with an open canvas, your open calendar. You already know your body clock, so work with that instead of against it. If you realize you're not going to get up at 5:00 am every morning, don't try to force yourself to set that alarm to get in that early morning run. It's just not going to happen. Be realistic in your goals for the first month. Once you get used to blocking scheduling, you can add goals in the coming months.
Next, make a list of all the things you do in a week. Your list might look something like this:
Utilizing these recommendations should help immensely in improving your time management immediately! If you need more help, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.