5 Time Management Systems

There are many ways for you to manage your time in an effective way. For many people it takes the rules and guidelines of a system to really take charge of their busy day. No one has time to learn a new system just to find out two weeks later it is not right for you. I made this list with the hopes that the information provided will steer you awards the time management system that works for you.

1. David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD)

GTD is number one on my list because GTD is the first system I was introduced to in my quest for a manageable work day. GTD is so much more than a time management system. It becomes a way of life, so much so that it is the inspiration for the fantastic work-life management software OmniFocus. The whole process is quite involved and may take a few readings to fully remember the steps involved, but once the main ideas are understood GTD is a very good system. The GTD workflow consist of five stages:

  1. Collect – Gather all items into a trusted inbox
  2. Process – What is it?
  3. Organize – Trash, someday/maybe list, reference filing system, task to create a project plan
  4. Plan – Is it a multi-step project? What is the next action?
  5. Do – Do it unless the calendar dictates otherwise

2. Tony Robbins’ Rapid Planning Method (RPM)

The Rapid Planning Method or Results-oriented Purpose-driven Massive-action-plan helps keep your eyes on the prize. There are three main questions you ask for each goal you need to complete:

  1. What do you want?
  2. Why do you want it?
  3. What is the plan to make it happen?

The best way to understand the method is to hear it from Tony Robbins. There are many YouTube videos where Tony Robbins explains the process in enough detail to give it a try.

3. 168 Hours

The process is laid out in Laura Vanderkam’s book of the same name. First off is to record everything you are doing for a week and to block your activities into chunks of time. This gives you a new look at where your time goes and it makes it easier to spot and cut the time wasters from your life.

4. Zen Habits

Leo Babauta’s system is like no others. The idea is that you completely remove the idea of goals from your life. You stop letting yourself be limited by goals. It works off of four principals:

  1. Love what you do
  2. Help others
  3. Build relationships and trust
  4. Be curious

5. Pomodoro Technique

Francesco Cirillo named this system after the tomato shaped timer he used to track his work as a university student. The Pomodoro technique can be explained simply in five steps:

  1. Choose a task
  2. Set the timer to 25 minutes
  3. Work exclusively on the task until the timer goes off
  4. Take a five minute break
  5. For every four breaks take a 15-30 minute break

As you can see these five systems are quite different from one another. They each have their own dedicated followers and more information can be found on Google and YouTube. Many of these techniques have their own collection of smart phone apps to help you stay on track. This is only a small list, there are so many more time management systems, but if you have thought about trying any of these five I hope this information has helped you.

If there is a time management system that you love and think I should try let me know in the comments below.

 

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Top 5 Books on Time Management

Time management is a fantastically large area. There are so many good books on the subject that no one could chronicle them all. This is a collection of the top 5 time management books that have helped me restructure my day to day activities.

1. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

I think this was the most recommended book I have ever run across, but it was not so easy to understand that it was being recommended because those in the know refer to it as GTD. It took me many months to understand what this GTD that I needed was a book. The number one thing that has stuck with me is having a trusted place to put my thoughts and ideas so that my mind remains clutter free.

2. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

This book helps you understand how to remove the actions that don’t matter in your life and spend more time on the actions that matter a lot. One of my favorite lines and one that really made me stop and think is

“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”

This book is very easy to read through and many of the ideas jump out like the one above. It gets me to stop and think about what I am doing and sometimes I have to ask myself

“Is this the very most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?”

If not I move on, because I am the writer in my story not that other guy.

3. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

The book is full of short and practical stories and ideas for improving time management and productivity. I found that this book is a great stater for those new to time management. The book sets the foundation that all other time management systems will build off of.

4. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

By focusing you time on what you do best and minimizing all other activities, you will have a greater sense of satisfaction and time for other activities. This book was part of one of my college courses where we were made to outline our days in a bar graph fashion for 168 hours. It was amazing to see these blocks of time like sleep or traffic suck up the 168 hours so quickly.

5. The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less

Simply put, 80% of your results will come from 20% of your effort. I now think about what I am doing in terms of weather or not the activity lies in the 20% or not. If I find that I am putting time awards an activity that will fall into the 80% waste category I stop.

If you are fuming because your favorite book is not in my list, don’t worry I probably haven’t read it yet. I read a lot. So, if you think  I need to read a book tell me about it in the comment section below.

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Breathe Life Into Your Writing

Writing can really suck sometimes. You pour everything you have got into a blog post, email, newsletter, whatever. And it sounds like Mr. Roboto got his hands on it.

No life, no flair, and well, kinda boring.

It’s not time to throw in the towel just yet.

Here are 8 tips to breath life into your writing.

1. Clear your mind

This is the most important tip of all, and when you master it you will be able to throw text on the wall in no time. You need to get your mind in the writing mode. Take a few breaths and brush off the dealings of the day. It’s time to make that blinky line move to the right. The weird thing about the mind and writing is that whatever mood you bring to the table will show through to your writing, so get excited about what you are writing about.

If you have trouble getting all of your ideas out try setting a time limit for your self. Say 20 minutes. Go into it knowing that you have 20 minutes to write that blog post, if you don’t finish get up and get some water or coffee. Come back for another 20 minutes and get it done.

2. Have a clear picture of what you are writing about in your mind

When you can see what you are trying to write about in your mind it will be easier to get it out. Like telling someone about the movie you just watched. Make the information play out in your mind like a movie.

3. Write to one person

Now as a new writer this can be tough but give it a think for a bit. The new writer is thinking that many, many people are going to be writing this post, so i need to address all of them. Yes, many people will be reading what you write. Hundreds, thousands, and more, but they are all reading it on their own.

Have a picture of your ideal reader in your mind and write directly to that one person. Everything you write should be aimed at that one person.

4. Be selectively descriptive

Adjectives are neat, but too many of them can really derail your writing. You want to be descriptive, but at the same time be brief. Use enough describing words to paint a picture in the mind of your reader, but not so much you get bogged down in the details. You have a plan in mind, there is a place you want to take the reader, don’t get bogged down detailing the parts of your story that really don’t matter.

5. Choose your words carefully

Words have power. Link a few together and you can evoke an emotion in your reader. Think of infomercials and magazine ads. You can Grow your income, or you can Explode your income. Both mean the same thing, but one evokes emotion. Write as active as you can to create the emotions that you need. Make sure you don’t over do it, if you turn every word into a power word it will just read weird.

6. Read it out loud

Read what you wrote out loud to yourself. Hearing the words and speaking the words will give you insight to where a sentence doesn’t work or if you need to move a line somewhere else. If you get stuck and the words are not flowing any more. Just read what you have aloud, you may trigger other ideas and get the words flowing again.

7. Be clear with what you want

If you want your readers to watch a video tell them

“Watch this video”

If you are writing a sales letter you really need to be clear with what you want them to do. Again you are painting a picture in the readers mind. Give them clear instructions as to what to do next.

8. Always make it about the reader

“What’s In It For Me”

Every one who is reading anything you do will want to get some benefit from what they are reading. If you always make it about them they will be more likely to keep reading until the end because they are getting some benefit. It’s all about the person who is reading your stuff.

Remember, everything you say triggers a thought and a feeling in the reader. That feeling will cause the reader to take the action you want them to take or not take it, so choose what you say very carefully.

If you like what you read, please share it with your friends.

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Find Your Everyday Time Sucks

When was the last time one of your friends told you to check out a new TV show or read a new book? Did you think to yourself “How am I supposed to do that when I don’t even have time to get through the stuff I want to watch/read?”

You may be surprised how much time you actually have. You may just need to make a few adjustments to your day to find some extra time. Or you may need to tear the whole thing down and start new.

Either way you need to see what you are working with. You can do this by recording your day to day activities. Jot down everything you do. Take a peak at your watch and take note of how long you took to do each activity.

Do this for your morning coffee stop, your commute time, even write down how long it takes you to get out of bed after your alarm goes off. Write it all down. You will want to have the clearest sense of where your time goes.

Alarm at 5:30, out of bed at 5:45

Shower 15 min

Dress and ready 20 min

Eat 10 min

Out the door feeling rushed and sure to be late at 6:30

Just be honest with yourself. This is a great exercise and you may be blown away by what you discover.

Many years ago I commuted 70 miles through Los Angeles. The drive on a clear road with no traffic was 1 hour 15 minutes. My commute ranged from 2-3 hours, it all depended on how stupid everyone was feeling that day.

I decided to leave 30 minutes early to see if that would change things up and I was pleased to find that I was only slowed 30 minutes, but I was also at work way too early.

I tried it the other way one day by accident. (Forgot to change the clock) I left 45 minutes late and I arrived at work on time without all the stop and go traffic I was accustomed to.

By accident I found 45 extra minutes for my morning plus I got to work stress free because I was missing all of the major congestion. That alone was life changing.

After you look at your day to day happenings start fooling around with it. You may be able to free up 30 minutes by switching coffee shops. Or do as I did and leave your house at a different time to see what the traffic is like.

Heres hoping you can get a satisfying change like I did.

If you enjoy my ramblings, tell your friends. If you hate my ramblings, tell your friends.

Share this and please leave me comment on what you discovered by looking at your day.

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5 Time Management Tips To Help You Free Up An Hour Every Day

Can you use another hour in your day?

I know I could, just imagine what you could get done in an hour a day. Start practicing the bag pipes, work on your dunking technique, write that novel. The possibilities are endless. These time management tips are inspired by a video on time management by Brian Tracy. Watch the video Here.

  1. Prepare in Advance

Before the end of your day look over your schedule and give your mind some time to stew over the activities and projects you have planned for the next day.

2. Schedule Your Time

Plan your day in advance. Give yourself a set amount of time to perform certain tasks. When you reach your allotted time move on to the next task. This is very important when dealing with activities that do not help you reach your desired daily goals.

3. Start Early

Give yourself some extra time in the morning for reflection, prayer, meditation, reading, or even just to bask in the quite that an early riser experiences each day.

4. Improve Your Organizational Skills

Do you have a system that helps you keep all of your files and reports in order? If you need to go over something you completed weeks ago, how quickly could you get access to those files? It is truly amazing how much of our time is lost to locating things we need to do our job.

5. Increase Your Productivity

You should know yourself enough to know when you function the best. Are you at your peak as soon as you start the day, or do you hit your stride a few hours before the close of business? Schedule your most meaningful work for the time that you are most productive. Also find out the time your clients or prospects are available and schedule calls around time that will be most productive. Make a note in your client files when a good time to call is and when a bad time to call is. Stop wasting time playing phone tag.

If you have any time management tips that are freeing up hours for you, please share them in the comments below.

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My Biggest Time Leach

What is one thing that technology does to make you feel ashamed or guilty?

For me it’s the “Are you still there?” message I get when watching Netflix on the Apple TV.

I have discovered that little message comes up after playing 4 episodes of a TV show without any interruption. That means that at the least I have spent about 2 hours staring at my TV, 4 hours if I’m on a Top Gear binge.

I usually have the TV playing in the background but that means that whatever I was working on for the past 2-4 hours is probably going to be piss poor and it will need to be redone.

If I am on a Top Gear binge I am probably not doing anything else because I have an odd love for that show. If that is the case I am more than likely going to be tired the next day because I will neglect my sleep for the antics of the three cheeky presenters.

I have sat in front of my TV too many times searching for my remote saying

“Yes, I’m still here, one more episode and I’ll go to bed.”

Only to ruin my needed sleep or neglecting it altogether. I had enough. I spent too many of these sleep deprived days and I realized it was time to change.

The first thing I did to rip this time leach from my side was to give voice to the issue. I told myself aloud that I will not be staying up all night watching Netflix again. Saying this out loud is very important. You have to speak up if you want your subconscious mind to pay attention.

Second, I set a limit for myself.

“I will watch no more than two episodes a night.”

If I got to the two episode limit I found that if got ready for bed I would usually hit the sack rather than go back to the TV.

Finally, the most difficult of all the steps I need to stick to it.

The most important thing with this step is to give yourself time. If you foul up one night, don’t go hating on yourself because you slipped up, just start over.

Voice the issue, make a goal, and stick to it.

Remember this will take time. I have decided to break the habit of binge watching Netflix by creating a new habit of going to sleep after two episodes.

Let me know in the comments what time leach drains your time every day.

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Why Is Time Management Important

If you come to this blog post thinking that time management is just a matter of tracking your time, I can understand why you would be asking what is so important with it. But time management is so much more than writing down how long it took you to complete a task.

The goal with time management is to use the time you have effectively. Spend more of your time doing meaningful tasks and less of your time with tasks that should only take minutes to complete.

Time management is all about putting your time to best use. That means that digging through the filing cabinet to find a clients phone number only to be greeted by a voice message system seems quite wasteful. All that time you wasted could have been saved with a few notes about when the best time to call is, a filing system that is intuitive to you, or even having the files and reports for your days work set out on your desk.

Proper time management will help you find precious minutes in your work day, maybe even hours. With a time management system that you like and use you will find that you are doing the work that you need to do instead of the work others want you to do.

You can look at your system and see that if you help Bob with his problem you will not be able to finish your work and you can politely explain that your schedule is not free enough to give the assistance that he needs. On the other hand you may see that you have a free hour between 3 and 4 so go ahead and give that help with in your allotted time.

Time management is important because it allows you to run your day. Knowing where your time is going and knowing that you will have time for you is a very empowering feeling. If you find yourself wondering where your time went it may be time to find a system you will use.

Getting good at time management takes work. You need to find a system that not only works for you but a system that you will use. If there is a time management system that you wish to know more about, or if you are using a system with success, let us know in the comments below.

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