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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