I have always been drawn to the concept of time management. I have worked for corporate America in the past, and took many time management courses, as well as studying time management on my own.
I think it is kinda funny that we actually think we can manage time, when time is going to keep marching itself along tick, tock, tick, tock, no matter what we do or don’t do!
Time management systems
One of the most popular systems recommend that you use a priority system on your to-do list, giving items an A, B, or C designation, based upon how important they are. This never seemed to work for me, personally. I would make this LONG list of things I needed to have done sometime in the future. And then I would try to prioritize them. Some things I would know were an A, but I didn’t know whether some should go as B or C priority, and I would get so frustrated I would just give up!
The other thing that this system didn’t necessarily take into account are the different areas we have in our lives as busy wives, mothers, employees or business owners. We have multiple areas of priorities.
What I find helps are to look at your areas of responsibility, your priorities. Your house, your kids, your business, your self! Then, before you go to bed the night before, ask yourself:
What is the most important thing I need to do tomorrow in each of these areas?
Then write it in your notebook, planner, put it on your phone, or I even like to use a post-it note. It might look something like this:
- Get floors swept and vacuumed
- Take kids to library
- Write blog post and publish
- Do yoga workout
Of course, this doesn’t mean these are the ONLY things you will do tomorrow, you will probably cook a few meals, change some diapers, wash dishes, give kids a bath, but those are routine things that you “shouldn’t” need on a to-do list (although you may want to write up a routine list to help you stay on track.)
The main thing is to make sure that you are getting the important things done. Not just the URGENT, but also the important. These are things that are helping you move towards your goals and also help you build relationships with those you love. They are also the preventative things that keep something from becoming a mess and then an emergency!
Whatever format you choose to use, it needs to be something that can be in your face for the day. If you never look at it again, you may very well forget, in the craziness of the day, WHAT you were supposed to be focusing on.
That is why I like the post it note. I can stick it on my laptop screen or my planner page so that I see it while I am doing other things. It keeps it in the front of my mind.
What tips, tricks or techniques have you used to manage your important to-do items?