The Discipline of Time Management


Time Management Part 2

You can read part 1 here.

My time management habit began with my inability to keep my class schedule straight freshman year.  The whole, “Mon – Wed – Fri” Class or “Tues – Thurs” class really messed with me. First couple of weeks of college I showed up for a Wed class on Tues and vice versa. I went to the bookstore and picked up the Week-At-A-Glance planner.  I put in my class schedule for the entire semester.  I then put in all test dates from class syllabi.  I did no planning, but at least I knew where I had to be and when every day.  My planner became my second skin.

What I’m about to lay out is the process I followed to start managing my time. Eventually you need to find your process.  I don’t go into the tools, because the tool you choose will vary based on how you like to manage your time.

Step 1

Get a cheap notebook, small enough to carry. Or learn how to use the Notes application on your smart phone.

Step 2

Begin writing all known commitments and appointments, including date and times. If you discover that you double booked yourself, immediately reschedule the commitment.

Step 3

I had a college professor that always used the free 12 month calendar given to him at Hallmark for his calendar. It fit in his pocket and he wrote small enough to put it all in there. Start with cheap or free calendar you can carry.  Put in all your appointments and commitments.

Step 4

Throughout the week, write down all of your new commitments and things you need to do. Most employers have an email system with a calendar that employees use (like Outlook). I’m not one to carry my laptop around with me so I don’t have 24 hour access to my calendar. Writing down new commitments and adding them to my calendar is a daily 5 minute activity.

Step 5

Sunday night I like to look at my to-do list and start scheduling when I’m going to do the list. My lists includes daily living activities such as grocery shopping, laundry, reading, church, Target run and anything else I need to get done. I try to group errands that are in the same area of town together.

I also look at my meetings scheduled at work and block out time to prepare for any meetings.  I wrote a post on this and you can read it here.

I once read that 5 minutes of organization saves an hour of time later. What steps do you follow to manage your time?

2 thoughts on “The Discipline of Time Management”

  1. I keep a small appointment book which notes all of my weekly time commitments and appointments and classes. I keep a separate notebook/small planner for college class assignments. On the fridge, I keep a running list of things I want or need at the grocery store, so I don't have to put a lot of thought into that. However, I probably have the most neurotically organized prayer life that you have ever seen, but it works for me. I keep a 4 x 6 card taped in the back flap of my Bible which lists absolutely every person and event that I want to pray for on a daily basis. I switch it out about every 3 or 4 weeks and start all over again. People ask me to pray for them frequenlty, and this way I rarely forget. I find that as I am faithful; God entrusts me with more. I just realized that my prayer life is the most organized part of my entire life. Most other things, housework, laundry, reconciling the bank statement, are all done when I get to them, sometimes by crisis management, but I really enjoy my time with the Lord, and I don't want to waste a minute.. Oh well. Funny. It works for me! I guess we organize what is most important to us.

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