Time Management: Start Small

Notebook collection

Recently, my mother asked me to help her write up a daily schedule (since she knows I’m obsessive about such things!). So, I figured, why not? We sat down with a legal pad of paper on the table between us, and began writing. While I was helping her, I realized that I should share some of these tips with the internet world as well! I’m not a professional time-management guru, but my method works for me, and it just might work for you as well!

Step One: Write a list of your longterm goals

It’s best not to use a fancy journal for this one. You need to feel free to write any and everything that might come to your mind. And when I say long-term, I mean long term, big goals– the ones that, at this moment, seem impossibly far out of your reach.

For my mother, some of these goals included opening her new kids photography club online and getting better at keeping up with the bills.

Step Two: What short term goals will help you get there?

Complete little tasks everyday, and soon they’ll amount up to big accomplishments.

Now’s the time to get more realistic. What’s the first step towards achieving your long term goal(s)? For my mother it started with calling GoDaddy to figure out a domain-name transfer and opening a blog. Then we wrote out a list of all the bills that had to be paid by the end of the month. All together, these small tasks can look overwhelming. That’s when the next step comes in.

Step Three: Start with today.

Make a list of the steps that you can reasonably get accomplished today. Choose one bill to pay, one phone-call to make. Put the stuff you don’t really want to do first on your list. As I’m sure you know, time has a habit of flying away from us. Complete little tasks everyday, and soon they’ll amount up to big accomplishments.

Step Four: Don’t forget the fun stuff.

Schedules don’t have to be a burden.

My mom’s a free-spirit type, which is great, but not when it comes to getting things done. It’s important to remember that schedules don’t have to be a burden. I schedule the tv shows that I like to watch, video games I want to play. This way, I don’t feel guilty when I’m enjoying my down-time! I’m sure you know the feeling I’m talking about… moments when you feel like you should be doing something else, so you don’t really enjoy your procrastination fully? Oh, and for goodness sake, don’t forget meals! Read more on this here.

Step Five: Schedule your week.

It’s much easier to schedule a whole week on Sunday night, than it is to remember to do it every morning. Keep your weekly schedule flexible and then tighten it up as you come closer. You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle.

Time-management software.

I used to use notecards, but since I finally joined the smart phone world, I now use Pocket Informant on my iPhone and iPad. My tasks can sync through GoogleTasks, so it’s really simple! Still, I usually do steps one and two on good old paper.

Best of luck with your own scheduling goals! If you have any questions for me, go ahead and ask and I’ll be sure to add it on my schedule and get back to you. 🙂

Does anyone else have a different process for time-management?

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3 thoughts on “Time Management: Start Small

  1. My weekly schedule always starts off with the big whiteboard hanging above my desk. I split the working week into mornings and afternoons, then decide how many of each I want to spend on each project. All the miscellaneous stuff (like this week, ‘Ring Grandma’) goes at the bottom, and I cross things off when they’re done.

    Thinking about it though, my list of long-term goals is hopelessly out of date. I make a new list at the start of every year, but I’m not very good at returning to it afterwards. I think my current long-term goals are all just stored in my head and nowhere else!

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