I’ve got to admit; I’m pretty good at time management. I haven’t always been great at it, so I created three steps for effective management. Many of the strategies come from ten years working for a direct sales company. That experience taught me strategies and steps to ensure that I’m more efficient with my time. Let’s be real, we can’t get everything done, and we’re all crazy busy, but we often have more time than we think. That’s why I think it’s vital to map out the week and then actually follow it. Yes, things will come up, and the plan may need to change, but having a plan, helps me stay on track, and it allows me to have more free time since I know where and when I can fit different activities.
I’ll be honest, it can take up to an hour to plan out your week using this system. One way I save time and ink is by laminating the Week-At-A-Glance sheet and the 5 Most Important Daily Tasks sheet. This way, I can just use a dry-erase marker. It makes it easy to add and erase when needed. Here’s what I do each week (ok, ok, I don’t do it every week, but when I do, my weeks flow much more smoothly, and I get much more done.
Step #1: Weekly To-Do List
The first of the steps for effective time management is the Weekly To-Do List. I list EVERYTHING I need to do for the week. I either write it down or type it up and print it. A paper copy that I can manually check off keeps more accountable. I break my Weekly To-Do List into three categories: work, business, and personal. You could break it up any way you want. Maybe you have a family category or an “other” category. It doesn’t matter. It’s super important to break up your tasks so that what needs to be done is clear. I write my to-do list for the week on Sunday. I add to the list throughout the week if I need to.
Step #2: 5 Most Important Daily Tasks
This part is where I break down my to-do list into more manageable chunks. I take the list and assign tasks to specific days during the week. I only write 3-5 tasks per day, and those are the ones that need to get done that day. These activities are my top priorities. So much so that I move them to the next day, if they aren’t completed. I like 3-5 because it’s manageable. That number helps me not become overwhelmed.
Step #3: Week at a Glance
Finally, I block out my week on the Week-at-a-Glance sheet I made. You would do this in your calendar or your phone, but the key is to block out the time and color code it. For example, I block out teaching in orange, so 7 am-3 pm Monday-Friday is orange. I then do the same thing for everything else I know I have to do in the week. I think this is the most important of the steps for effective time management because it helps me see how much I have to do and, most importantly, how much free time I have!
I hope this helps you manage your time a little better! If you want more information on how I plan my weeks, click the link below to get my Ultimate Time Management System for FREE!