Archives For Productivity

Time Management Tools

February 23, 2011

Time Management Part 3

Many people start with the tool, but I believe the tool should be an extension of your habit of managing your time. It should not be a starting point.  Even if you have a tool you love, it’s always good to periodically look at new tools since technology is always evolving. I’m still using a FranklinCovey planner and this year I’m transitioning to an electronic planner. My iPhone fits in my purse and it’s always with me. My planner is not. I’m going through the pains of forming new habits and breaking old ones.

Start Cheap

Don’t buy anything fancy. Use the free note app on your smartphone to make notes regarding appointments and tasks. Use the calendar as well.   I use Evernote, which is a free app on the iPhone. They also have a desktop version.

If you don’t have a smartphone, you can buy a cheap Mead notebook or calendar. I had a college professor that used Hallmark’s free calendar as a planner. It fit perfectly in his shirt pockets. Yeah, he had tiny writing.

Graduate to something more sophisticated

You can stay cheap and download some free apps.  Or you can buy a planner that suits your needs. I’ve been in a FranklinCovey Planner for about 10 years, before that I was into Day Runner (it fit my budget better).  Before Day Runner, during the college years, I used At-A-Glace planner (weekly) you can get at any college bookstore or office supply store. For 18 years regardless of the brand, I always viewed a week at a time. 2 years ago, my life got so full that I switched to Franklin’s daily pages inserts. That was a huge adjustment.

And now online calendars or other apps have color-coding; that lack of using different colors is what prevented me from using an electronic planner years ago.

If time management is not your forte do not spend any money until you have developed habits discussed in part 1 and part 2.

Some Cool Tools


  • At A Glance – got me through college (grad and undergrad)
  • Day Runner
  • FranklinCovey Planner
  • FranklinCovey Apps – for iPhone

What tools do you use to manage your time?

On Being Productive

August 26, 2009

Many people use some kind of planner.  But what is your routine in managing your calendar? I’m amazed how many people don’t look at their calendar as nothing more than a sophisticated “to-do” list. A list may have no thought as to Objects - Time and Moneywhat is the most productive order to complete the tasks.  I find this when I make a grocery list. Sometimes I go down the list getting everything I need, but I’m wandering back and forth in the grocery store. If I spend a few minutes organizing the list, I’d get out of the grocery store faster.

Here are some suggestions for increasing productivity (yes, this is my routine):

Friday afternoon look at the upcoming work week.

What meetings are scheduled? If there’s no agenda for a meeting, make sure you need to be at the meeting. Make a list for what you need to do to prepare for meetings.

Plan your “Empty Time”.

Empty time is the time where there’s no meeting.  This is the time you could:

  • Use to prepare for upcoming meetings – read any documentation, previous meeting notes
  • Type up meeting notes
  • Respond to email
  • Think, yes think about the problems you are trying to tackle. Be determine to add value to your work environment and any meeting you attend.

Don’t let anyone add to your schedule for the upcoming week!

There are only two people I allow to add to my work schedule at the last minute and they are several pay grades higher than me. If someone wants a meeting request that the meeting be scheduled a week out. Most meetings I attend are the ones I schedule, I prefer to give people at least 2 weeks to prepare. But with the way work goes, one week is usually the best I can do. I expect the same in return.

Every morning look at your calendar and To-do list.

Make any adjustments if necessary. I look at the previous day and carry-over any to-do items that were undone.

One of my engineering professors once shared that we should know the value of our time and never waste it. The value of your time isn’t only what you make per hour on the job. You determine the value of your time. Respect it and the value of other peoples’ time.