Time management tools can be complex online charts and matrixes or simple everyday items that simply help you use the time you have more efficiently. Using online tools can be a fun way to help be more efficient, but beware - they can end up making you procrastinate even more.
A calendar can help you keep important scheduled events at the forefront of your mind. You can see when you will be having ‘dead time’ and schedule small tasks to fill in the gaps (listen to your latest empowerment audio while driving, balance your checkbook in the doctor’s office waiting room).
Simply having a monthly guide to give you the big picture will help you accommodate certain tasks that need to be done on a deadline (get school supplies before school starts, replace sports gear, etc).
A day planner can help you more tightly organize each individual day. Multitask by grouping errands in the same part of town together, and slot important tasks in the early part of the day when you are fresh.
If possible, have both a hard copy and an online copy of your day planner. You can carry one with you and add or update items as needed. The other will be easily accessible from your PC or mobile device - but physically writing things down does help to imprint them on your memory.
Use sticky notes to remind yourself of highly important tasks. You can jot something down and stick it to your computer screen when you have to leave for a short time, so when you get back you won’t have a lag time where you try to remember what you were doing.
Use index cards to organize large tasks. This breaks them down into smaller steps, and being able to throw them away as you complete each item motivates you to keep moving forward.
Don’t forget the power of delegation. Your phone can be an incredible time management tool - use it to touch base with co-workers instead of email, or to personally hand off small tasks - it’s harder to say no to someone on the phone than it is in an email!
You can also delegate certain tasks to the ‘non-efficient’ you - when you know you have lag time (before your second cup of coffee, after lunch, or near quitting time) drag out those monotonous tasks that don’t take too much brain power and get them out of the way.
A funny cartoon depicts a guy getting ready to do all the stuff he has scheduled for the day. He organizes his desk so it will be easy for him to do his stuff. He goes to the store to buy things that will help him do his stuff. He stops for lunch so he won’t be distracted by hunger while he does his stuff. Then he decides to wait until the next day to get started, because there’s not enough time to do all his stuff. Get the picture?
All the tools in the world won’t cure procrastination. When it comes down to it, time management tools can help you get stuff done - but they won’t do your stuff for you!
Time management tips
Different time management techniques
Time management games
Time management activities
Business time management
Time management matrix by Stephen Covey
Time management in the workplace
Free time management test Self-esteem homepage from time management tools