As a consultant with Bulldog Solution, a mom, a wife, an entrepreneur, and a recent Master’s student, I have tried more time management tools than anyone I know. This is partially due to my own interest of wanting to know what’s available for everyone to use and partially due to me wanting to find the most efficient way to keep my multi-faceted complicated life “organized”.
If you were to google “time management tools” you would be overwhelmed with the results and suggestions – I know because I’ve done it! We all have time management needs and although all of the theories you might read about work for someone, they each certainly don’t work for everyone.
I believe the key is to determine what works for you. We each have very different lives with different work schedules and obligations. As I have heard friends and colleagues brag about how great this “new” time management tools was, I have immediately gone to order it, download it, or purchase it from the store. I have poured hours into articles, blogs, Instagram posts, Pinterest ideas, and books written about the most effective tools. Out of all of this “research”, one take-away I have concluded is finding the best tool really boils down to three key factors.
One key to time management is to determine what your style is. Some people prefer a pre-printed calendar while others prefer an app or online tool. I personally prefer a balance of both. I find it most efficient to keep my schedule on my device, but prefer to plan my daily agenda on paper. This might seem a bit much for some, but I need to plan my time in each day out, yet I want to see my week as a whole as well.
The next important aspect is determining what you want your planner to do for you. Some people need it for scheduled appointments only while others plan their day in detailed 15 minute increments. Once again, I prefer something in between. I block time for my large tasks and projects and allow other time to be less structured. In addition, anything that is a priority is added in blocks. For example, deadlines, meetings, and project deliverables are all included in time blocks. Answering emails and wrapping up loose ends is done as time permits.
The third aspect is time devotion. How much time are you willing to devote to time management? Time is such a valuable asset yet it doesn’t seem we all view it that way. Many people have a “wing it” approach. I prefer to sit down on Sunday evening and spend an hour planning my week. I review all of my appointments as I add them to my daily agenda and insert time blocks for projects, meetings, and deliverables. I add daily task lists of non-negotiable items to complete. I even block time for personal time that is a priority, like taking my daughter Prom dress shopping.
Time management is not a one size fits all concept. It’s important to determine what works for you versus jumping on board with a friend or colleague to use their system exclusively. Exploring the three key areas above are a great start to finding the perfect time management system that works for you. Also realize that finding the right method or tool may take time. Try a few out, take pieces that worked and eliminate pieces that don’t work. Time management systems don’t have to be trendy or cool; they just have to work for you.
So as you explore the best time management tools, here are a few we use at Bulldog Solution:
I love running training on time management and helping our clients get the most of their days. To learn more click on our corporate link: Bulldog Corporate Programs
Consultant, Bulldog Solution Inc.