How Do I Develop a Time Management System?

M. Kayo

Ineffective time management or the lack of any system to manage time wastes this valuable asset. Developing an effective time management system can bring about a big change in the way a person lives and works by helping him use available time more efficiently and to get more done in less time. The big problem that most people have in developing a time management system is that the need for that system always seems to come at a time when there are already too many things to accomplish. Conversely, when there seems to be sufficient time to develop a time management system, there is little motivation to do it. Start developing an effective, custom-tailored time management system by doing a few simple things like identifying priorities, finding the right focus, and being accountable.

Time management software.
Time management software.

Most people feel they already have too much to do and not enough time to do it, so in order to create the best time management system, priorities must first be established. First, realize that not everything is urgent and that some things are clearly more important than others. Using a daily planner, a calendar on a smart phone, or an index card to write out these prioritized tasks and placing it in a pocket or purse serves as a continual reminder of what is important for that particular day at any particular time. When prioritizing tasks for a daily schedule, start with the single most important task and work down the list from there.

It may help to consult a professional organizer who assists people in more efficiently managing their time, priorities, and personal energies.
It may help to consult a professional organizer who assists people in more efficiently managing their time, priorities, and personal energies.

Learn to develop a sense of personal accountability. People who make prioritized task lists, work on them diligently throughout the day, avoid distractions, and hold themselves accountable for completing the tasks feel better at the end of the day. A true time management system is simply a mechanism that works properly when people work at it. Those who are self-employed or work at home are especially aware of the importance of personal accountability and effective time management skills. One good method of developing personal accountability is to see yourself in the future and to realize the inevitable positive effects of maintaining accountability to a schedule, list, or time management system.

Use a time management system that focuses on avoiding distractions, maintains a clear vision, and keeps things on a realistic schedule. There are about 10 billion e-mails generated everyday, hundreds of cable channels on TV, and phone calls that all want immediate attention. A person with effective time management skills learns to focus on getting the important things done first before allowing any distractions to use up valuable time. For those who are attempting time management for the first time, the process of change requires time, so take a few days and gradually move away from handling distractions, spending a bit more time working on what's important every day. Focus on the prioritized tasks, enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes at the end of the day, and use that feeling as motivation to do more the next day.

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