Time Management for Resolutions
Perhaps the most useful quote I have ever heard on time management came from time management expert Harold Taylor. He said “on the day you die, you are still going to have a full in -box.” The point is, you’ll never get it all done, so in order to feel fulfilled, it’s important to focus on your top priorities.
So time management is really about priority management and New Year’s Resolutions usually represent new and important priorities.
Here is a list of the top 10 new year’s resolutions for 2015:
- Stay fit and healthy 37%
- Lose weight 32%
- Enjoy life to the fullest 28%
- Spend less, save more 25%
- Spend more time with family and friends 19%
- Get organized 18%
- Will not make any resolutions 16%
- Learn something new/new hobby 14%
- Travel more 14%
- Read more 12%
You’ll notice that #6 at 18% is “get organized.” Hopefully this post on time management will not only help with #6, but with the other 82% as well. Here’s what to do.
1. Be specific and realistic.
You won’t get far with “stay fit” and saying that you will “exercise for 3 hours EVERY day” is not a likely habit either. Instead, you might say “go to gym, one hour, 8:30am Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.” Instead of saying “travel more,”make it a project and have a specific goal, like “travel to Spain in the Fall.”
2. Use a system you TRUST.
When considering a paper or digital system, remember that Fixed habits (like the gym 3 times a week) and flexible projects (like travel to Spain) must occupy the same page, so you need to cover both bases. To trust a paper system, it must be accessible at all times for the events and habits. To trust a digital system, it must be compelling for your to-do’s to get done. I find a combination works best.
3. Divide projects into tasks.
Digital systems work great for consistent events, like habits. Another example of a consistent event would be a meeting. When meetings are recorded digitally they can be synced between your computer, your smartphone, your laptop, and your tablet. They can also be printed out, which is how I combine paper with digital. I look at just one page per day, for my to-do’s. On it, I place small Post-its for my tasks, around the fixed events of the day. Most tasks pop up that day, but some of them come from my ongoing project folders. An example of an ongoing project would be “travel.” That’s where the “travel to Spain in the Fall” project would go. A project always needs to be broken down into bite-sized tasks. I represent each of these tasks on a small post it. That way, I can introduce a piece of a long term project into my daily schedule, with just a quick weekly review. Because I use little post-its, I never have to write or rewrite a to-do list and it’s easy to regroup when things pop up, as they always do.
There’s a couple of time management products that I find really helpful.
This clever timer clarifies the time you have left, in red. It’s especially great for kids and those suffering with ADD, but I use it all the time.
OK, so this isn’t really sold as a time management product, but I would be lost without it. This clear sturdy folder allows me to keep my daily schedule on the cover, so it’s portable and instantly visible. I call it my “today folder” because Everything that goes in today, comes out today. It’s thin and lightweight so I never hesitate to bring it along.
Do you have some time management tips that help YOU keep your resolutions a reality?