How to Plan Your Day the Time Management Way

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Managing time is not that hard, even though it may seem hard to find the time you need to do everything. Consider doing a few key things instead of trying to do everything by using time management tips, such as writing things down, prioritizing tasks, reviewing appointments, blocking out time for getting things done, and remaining flexible in your plans.

Things You'll Need

  • To-do list
  • Appointment calendar
  • Pencil

Write down everything you need to do. Many of those who manage their time well keep a "to do" list handy for jotting down action items, work tasks, project activities and ideas. Keep the list of tasks in a convenient location, like a notebook, a planner, or a personal digital assistant (PDA).

Review your tasks and prioritize the items at the same time each day. This can be done in the morning of the date you plan to work on the items or in the evening of the day before. Determine priorities for each item.

Look at your list of appointment for today. Plan what you need for important appointments so you will have everything ready before the appointment starts. Be sure to include paper and pen for taking notes or writing down actions. Determine what you must do about appointments you are unable to keep, such as canceling a lunch date or sending a substitute to a meeting.

Schedule blocks of time in your day to work on your to-do list. Schedule high-priority items at your peak time, when you are typically most attentive and alert. Then schedule the medium-priority items in the remaining time or after appointments. Whenever possible, schedule similar items and errands all in the same time block. For example, plan to make all outgoing calls in the same hour or read and respond to emails during two small blocks of time each day. Concentrating the time spent on the phone or with email, will actually reduce the interruptions they usually cause when working on other key items that have been blocked for your peak periods.

Allow for flexibility in your schedule. In other words, don't over schedule yourself. In an eight-hour time period, you should only plan for six hours of medium- to high-priority work and appointments. That way, your plan is not greatly disrupted if an emergency or crisis situation comes up that you must handle. If little comes up during the flex time, then you may work on an item on your to-do list, address a task that was not part of the original plan, or give yourself a few minutes of down time to unwind and reduce stress or think creatively.

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