Time Management Skills

Managing Your Time

When it feels like you never have enough time

Taking charge of your time is easier said than done. First and foremost, realize that progress in this arena is what you’re after, not necessarily perfection. To effectively manage your time, it is vital to become well-acquainted with yourself and the real world you operate in. Whether you work in an office, on the road, or from home, you need to be realistic and objective when it comes to taking charge of your time.

There are several key pieces to becoming accomplished at managing your time.

Where are you now?

Where are you now? Never have enough time? Are you carrying guilt for what you’re not getting done? Your conscience will trouble you if you have obligations, commitments, or responsibilities that you can’t meet. Clear up your conscience and take a hard look at your time and how you want to commit to spending it!

Treat time like a bank account. Each day the hours you make available are deposited into your account and every minute is a withdrawal. Like money, time can be invested, neglected, or wasted. Unlike money, you can’t get overdrawn but you can over obligate.

Where do you want to be?

How would your life be better if you could improve your skills as a planner and manager of time? Where are you now? Never have enough time? Are you carrying guilt for what you’re not getting done?

Make an initial draft of your todo list before you end work each day. This habit allows you to schedule what must be done. The next morning you will finalize the list and add what needs to be squeezed in last-minute. This two-step approach will help you spend your time conscientiously and where it counts most.

As a next step, examine your list to identify what you missed or frequently leave out. Then look at your calendar for appointments or meetings for the next two weeks that you need to include or prepare for and add those.

Now you have a real picture of what you need and want to do. You will see deadlines more clearly and how much time everything will take.

Spend time where it counts the most

Your next step is to number in sequence what you will do first, second, etc. And next, drum roll please, check off items as you complete them. Practically, remember that a calendar is for appointments, even if they are with you. A to-do list is an account of what you need and want to do. You will need to use both every day.

Your calendar and to-do list must be mobile. You don’t have to shower with them or sleep with them but generally, you want to keep them within an arms-reach. I still use my paper Franklin Covey binder/planner. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I have tried to move away from it and my efficiency and organization have suffered for it so it is here to stay.

If you’re interested, check out the planner options at Franklin Covey. I prefer the 8 ½ x 11 Original-Monarch style and use the ring binder so I can hole punch timely, related documents like an airline reservation or a meeting agenda. I typically add in ruled paper for notes and a few of the forms Franklin Covey sells are favorites of mine.

Where does all that time go?

You choose how much time to make available every day. I would encourage you to commit to the number of minutes you are going to use each day. Commit to an average you can realistically live with. Consider starting with a minimum average of 950 minutes a day. If your work commitment is 8 to 5 and you allow an hour’s drive time each way, your work time deduction is 660 minutes. So you would have 290 minutes to spend in other areas of your life. Your lunch hour is sometimes an ideal way to spend time on tasks or chores related to non-work concerns.

Example starting schedule
Out of bedGo to sleepDaily
Weekdays6:00 AM11:00 PM1020 minutes
Weekends8:00 AM11:00 PM900 minutes

Want more time this year? Use our Daily Ledger. You will use it for a week just like a check register to stay in the real world about how you spend your time. It is the perfect tool for making the most of your time. Get it now, it’s FREE!

Still learning,