How to Improve Your Time Management With a Steno Notebook

Close-up of a woman's hand writing in a steno notebook
Close-up of a woman's hand writing in a steno notebook (Image: Lizalica/iStock/Getty Images)

Managing your time proves a necessity for most, whether you are a struggling student trying to balance an overloaded collection of courses or a busy professional attempting to keep your massive to-do list in check. While managing your time isn't a simple task, it doesn't require a collection of fancy supplies. Instead of shelling out cash for a pre-made time management system, create your own time management plan using a simple steno notebook as your primary tool.

Things You'll Need

  • Steno notebook
  • Ruler
  • Pen or Pencil
  • 5 Highlighters of different colors (optional)

Using a ruler, divide your steno pad into five relatively equal columns. The ruler should primarily help you create straight lines. Actually measuring your column size isn't necessary.

List tasks that you must complete during the current week down the first column. Complete this task last thing on Friday or first thing on Monday to create a road map for your week.

Estimate the time required for each task and write these estimations alongside them down the second column. Although the durations you write will only be estimations, you should to make them as accurate as possible, as these time frames heavily influence your planning.

Prioritize the tasks in the third column, writing a 1 next to tasks that are urgent and 2's, 3's, 4's and 5's next to those of lesser importance, using each number as a step-wise hierarchy of exigency.

Write the day on which you hope to complete each task in the fourth column. As you do this, refer back to the estimated time that you placed in the second column to ensure that you don't plan to complete more than possible each day. After writing the days on which you plan to complete the tasks, you have the option to color code your list using highlighters to indicate the days tasks need to be completed, so narrowing down the tasks you need to complete is easier and more efficient.

Place an X in the fifth column as you complete each task. If you do not complete a task on the day that you planned to complete it, you can also use this column to house a notation of when you will complete this task or the ramifications of not completing it.

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