Striving Wisdom

5 Simple Steps to Manage Your Time

Posted on: March 13, 2012

The best time to do something worthwhile is between yesterday and tomorrow.

~ Author Unknown

Lesson: Control your life by controlling your time.

There are many tricks and tips on time management – you just have to choose the one that works for you. What I have found that works for me is by writing down my activities, giving them a certain amount of time, and comparing the sum of hours to my available time. It only takes a few minutes each day to keep my week organized and manageable.

To get started, I’ve broken the strategy into five simple steps to follow:

1. Write down what you need to do for this week (even if the activity won’t get done this week, the week after or whenever). The point is to get you started. If the activity is too big, break it down to sub-activities. By writing down what you need to do, you will feel more motivated to get it done sooner than later. Below is a simple example of one of my week’s schedule. (I actually have more and you probably do as well – I just want to keep it simple for this example.)

2. Designate a certain amount of time for each activity and add up all the hours. We’ll call this the “designated hours.” Here’s a continuation from the example above:

(You might wonder why there’s a smiley face on the top right-hand corner. It’s there to help me smile and think positively as I look at my list of activities.)

3. Write down the amount of “committed hours” for the week – the number of hours that you are willing to spend on the activities that you have written down. If you want to take it a step further, sum the hours per day as well as per week. This will help you figure out how much time you have to tackle the activities for a given day. Here’s an example:

4. Compare the sum of those two (“designated hours” and “committed hours”) to get an idea of what your week will look like. Make any adjustments to the hours if you need to. Here’s an example of what I do after looking at the comparison:

    • If “designated hours” > “committed hours”
      • I change the number of hours for one or two activities so that the amount of “designated hours” equal or less than “committed hours.”
    • If “designated hours” < “committed hours”
      • I either use that time to do something relaxing, such as cooking, or starting a new project.

5. Update your list. If you have more activities to add onto the list each day, go ahead and do so. Just make sure that you update the “designated hours” and/or “committed hours.” By having control on how much time you can spend on each activity, you are having control on your life.

Put a check mark on the activity that you have completed, it will give you a sense of accomplishment. If you have completed the majority of the activities within a week (the percentage is up to you, it can be 80%, 90% or 99%), give yourself a treat for following through with your goals!

If you go over the time limit for an activity, it’s fine. It just goes to show that you really care for that activity. Just remember to update the “designated hours” for other activities and/or “committed hours.”

I hope this approach to time management works for you as it has been for me! If you have comments, questions, or other suggestions, please leave a comment below. Good luck!

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