Monday, March 14, 2016

Time Management Toolkit: Free Tools to Better Manage Your Time

Photo by JD/Creative Commons
We all get the same number of hours in a day - 24.  Period.  There's no way around it.  So why does it feel like we're always running out of time while others seem to have all the time in the world?  It comes down to time management.

No matter where you work or the career path you've chosen - from corporate executive to stay-at-home mom - we waste an average of three hours a day doing things we really don't have to or shouldn't do at all.  One of the biggest time wasters is the internet - how many times a day do you check your social media accounts?  How much time do you spend looking at Facebook on a daily basis?  What about your phone?  So often, we pick up the phone "just to check a message" and an hour later, we realize we've done everything but check the message and have gotten nothing else done.

One of the best ways of getting more time is to keep track of where your time is going.  Start by tracking what you're doing every day; it might take some extra time to do it, but the results will be surprising.  Write down each thing you did and when you did it; make sure to write it down immediately so you don't forget anything.  At the end of two or three days, look at your days side by side and compare where your time went.

In looking at your time over several days, you'll find you've spent more than you expected doing things that could either be delegated to someone else, could be discontinued altogether and time you've frittered away doing unproductive things, like talking with coworkers, walking around the office.  If you're working from home, you'll be able to see exactly how much time you've spent doing laundry, getting coffee, dealing with the others living in your house - human and furry - and cleaning the bathroom instead of working.

That's not to say you should never speak with coworkers or walk around the office but there's a time and a place.  When we float through our day without a good game plan for every single day and every single hour, we end up doing things we really don't need to be doing.  We take on projects others should be doing and we end up in meetings we don't need to attend.

When coaching clients who are dealing with time management issues, tracking time is the first step toward getting their lives under control.  The next thing is setting up to-do lists twice a day, every day.

To help you with your time management, I'm giving away copies of my Time Management Toolkit, in PDF format, which includes three pages of worksheets to help you get a handle on your day.  I've put in my worksheet for tracking what you do each day, your top tasks that need to be done in each area of your life each day and a prioritization exercise that'll help you see what's urgent and what's not.

If you'd like to receive a copy of the Time Management Toolkit, send me an email by clicking here and I'll ship it right over!  You'll also receive a subscription to our monthly newsletter, which will be starting in April.

Hope you find the Toolkit helpful!  Any feedback on it is appreciated!