There are a lot of books, articles, and training courses out there on time management. While I wish I could tell you that I found the magic silver bullet (which is way better than just a plain silver bullet), the truth is that time management is really a myth.
You cannot manage time (No, I am not slamming just YOU – no one can manage time).
So, where am I going with this?
Since you cannot manage time, the only thing you can manage is yourself.
Time management = discipline.
So here is the good news: If you can discipline yourself to follow a few habits, you really can get more done – even with the same amount of time you have available today.
Just like money needs a budget to be effective, time needs a schedule to be effective. Here are a few little tips that have made a big difference for me.
1. I ask myself: “Is what I am doing now the best use of my time?” if the answer is “no,” then I need to stop what I am doing and go find out what is the best use of my time – then do that thing.
2. Find ONE solution that works for your list of things to do. Maybe you use pen and paper, a wall calendar, or a high tech solution like your computer or smartphone. I use the iPhone’s calendar that synchronizes with my Microsoft Outlook Calendar on my computer.
For my to do list. I have just started using Evernote for the iOS, and I LOVE it. I’m sure that I will share some great tips to get started at a future time, but there are many others out there who have put together some excellent guides. This guide is pretty much the definitive source: https://members.nerdgap.com/order-evernote-essentials/.
The key here is use ONE place to keep everything. Trust me on this one; I have wasted tons of time chasing around loose sheets of paper, post it notes, and ever mustard stained napkins. If you only keep things in one place, you only have one place to look.
3. Make a “don’t do list.” I love this one. Sit down and think about the time wasters that you want to eliminate from you life (be nice, no names please! Just to be clear, I’m not talking about PEOPLE). Things that are neither good nor bad, but are not the most important things in you life go on this list. For me, obsessively checking social media, or watching reality TV are on this list. If I spend time on these activities, I give up time for other things that I consider to be more important.