100% of us are looking for the perfect time management system that will magically enable us to get everything done. Okay, I made that up. But honestly, how much time have you spent trying out different systems and new applications? Oh, the irony. I must admit, I try lot’s of different time management ideas, and that’s okay as long as that’s not all you get done. Since we are all different, I believe it takes some experimentation to find something that works well for us. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Paper vs. Electronic
Are you a visual person, do you think best when writing things down? Do you love gadgets and own the latest smartphone? You probably have some idea which way you lean, or whether you might work best with a hybrid system. The Productivity Pro has great information to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each method. You can read the article “Paper vs Electronic” here. Personally, I like a combination of the two methods. She also talks about the HUG criteria for time management systems.
Whatever you choose should be:
- Flexible-Easy to update
- Portable-Large enough to hold all your information, yet small enough you won’t mind carrying it around.
- Comfortable-attractive forms or screens
- Customizable-make it work for your needs
- Accessible-wherever you go
As smartphones and tablets become increasingly popular, many devices come with a system, and there are many apps available to explore. They vary from very simple, like any.do to more complex methods for integrating Getting Things Done. When looking for applications, consider:
- Ease of use
- Access across platforms
- Ability to sync
- Ability to set subtasks
- Ability to set recurring tasks
- Ability to set priorities
Essential Lists for a system:
- Your core value statement or USP: this is central to everything else
- Your goals and projects.
- The action steps that will accomplish goals and projects.
- Idea capture.
Helpful information to know and include in a system:
- Repeating tasks for work and home
- Daily routine
- Weekly Plan
- Favorite menu plans, recipes, shopping lists
- Favorite recreational activities
Possible sections to include:
- Master list
- to-do list
- work duties
- repeating tasks
- important dates/gift ideas
- shopping list
- books to read
- movies to watch
Find free printable forms for planners:
- Set of a weekly planning form plus five daily planning forms (pdf) and more at Free Tools
I now use my paper planner as a tool for the weekly review.
- A very useful guide to Learning to Use a Day Planner from the National Resource Center of AD/HD
- How to set up a basic productivity system from Nextweb
- Productivity Systems from Tuts+
- Always Choose Tools You’ll Use from timemanagementninja.com
- The Paper Planner Inbox from A Million Monkeys Typing
GTD Essentials for those who follow Getting Things Done by David Allen.