Effective time management allows you to get more accomplished during the day with less stress. This is a difficult skill for many people. In this post I am going to explore different tools that are available to you online.
One of the easiest to use is the calendar function that is attached to your email service, google and outlook are the most common. I suggest using the one attached to your email because it is very easy to then add appointments and meetings from your email. The calendar function allows you to break appointments into 15 minute increments. You can parts of your calendar public and parts private. You can mark times as busy so that it is less likely you will be invited to meeting during that time. You can have access to it wherever you have email access. Adding your calendar to your phone makes it very easy to update and check your schedule when talking to others.
I have my students who have difficulty finding time to complete assignments set up calendar reminders to check homework at the same time every day. I then show them, at the start of the year, how to determine how long different assignments will take and to block out that time on their calendars. They also block out regular review time on a reoccurring basis, this helps stop the last minute cramming so many of them do. They add practices, work, sleep, and relaxation. Many of them have found this very useful and much better than writing in an agenda. They are much less likely to loose their phones and like being able to access their schedule anywhere. I’ve had it written into IEP’s with great success.
Some kind of notepad is very useful for making lists. I use the one that came on my phone called SuperNote. I have different lists set up for shopping, to do, work, and family. I add to each list as needed and check them regularly to make sure items don’t stay on them too long if they are important. I highlight the ones that need to get done right away and add them to my calendar. If I see something on there too long I add it to the calendar or take it off, except my vacation dreams which will probably be there forever.
If you need more help than using a basic calendar and note app there are other programs available. RescueTime tracks how you spend your time online. Do you get sucked into Facebook or Pintrest? spend time looking for just the right resource and look up hours later? Rescue Time will block websites of your choice after you spend a predetermined amount of time on them. It tracks how long you look at your email and all the other things you do. Being aware of how you spend your time is the first step in learning to manage it. Even better, it’s free.
Remember the Milk keeps showing up on lists of free time management software. From this website comes this review. “Remember The Milk offers some great extra features. Create lists or task clouds; integrate maps to make tasks that require you to leave the house more efficient; publish your tasks and lists, share them with your contacts or send out reminders.” I downloaded it to my phone and am going to play with it because it sounds like a useful app
Maybe what you really need is a little more motivation to start managing your time. Android has Fabulous: Motivate Me! which I downloaded a few days ago. It has you change habits one at a time. If you feel better about yourself you are more likely to get your work done. The app claims to help you change so you have healthy habits and routines. Routines are an important part of time management. The app gives you goals that aren’t out of reach and feel like they are attainable. I haven’t used it for long but it certainly seems like it is worth a try.
I think that calendar and notes are the most useful apps both personally and professionally. They allow you to organize your day easily. Adding a motivation app so that you actually start using them regularly would help establish the habit and make it fun to do so.