So many times I’ve seen people who have written online about their frustration with their planner. Often these folks have the idea that their planner should be able to manage their entire life. This is far from the case. Your planner is a very valuable tool for managing your time, but it is only one tool in your time management tool box. Here are more tools you can incorporate into your time management system:
Wall calendar: I use a wall calendar at home in my kitchen so the whole family can see what’s coming up. Wall calendars are great at work too, so the whole team can see when members have time off and the timeline for big projects.
Alarms: I wear a watch that has three alarms: when it’s time for me to get up in the morning, our ten minute warning before it’s time for my kids to go out the door in the morning for school, and my five minute warning when it’s time for me to go pick them up in the afternoon. That afternoon alarm is especially important; it allows me to focus on work without having to check the clock all the time for fear of missing pickup time. You can also set alarms on your phone for reminders to take medicines, get to meetings and any other time-sensitive things you might forget.
Timers: These have a motivational function when you set your timer for a certain amount of time: 15 minutes, 40 minutes, an hour, then you crank away on as much work as possible. This is a great way to prevent procrastination and get you going on a project. You don’t have to commit to a long period of time, just go until the timer rings and you’re done. I haven’t tried the Pomodoro Technique but some people swear by it.
Notebook: Again I’ve seen people online who think their planner should be the only book they use. Far from it: your planner is great for planning, but you need a capture device, someplace to write notes and develop ideas. I use a notebook to write my daily task lists, notes, ideas, things to develop later, other types of lists, etc. I started with the Bullet Journal method and adapted it to my own needs. You don’t need to use any particular method or technique; just open a notebook and write things down.
Mobile apps: Your phone/ electronic device can be a great companion for your planner to help you manage your time and tasks. Whatever you need to do, there’s probably an app for that.
What other tools are in your time management tool box?