10 Time Management Principles

Taking control of your schedule is about building some smart and simple time management principles into your life. These are things anyone -- even the most right-brained, creatively out-of-control of us -- can do.

1. Write it down. Don't trust things to memory. Using lists and checking off completed tasks frees your mind for more important things.

2. Do it now. Whenever possible, make this your motto -- especially with onerous tasks that could become worse if you put them off.

3. Have the right tools. The projects for which we have the tools or resources will be finished before the ones for which we're not prepared. If you schedule some time to organize your child's closet, have on hand various sizes of organizing bins, self-sealing plastic bags, a garbage bag, and boxes to store or give away items.

4. Believe in buffers. Anticipate traffic, checkout lines, and children to be slower than you'd like, and adjust your expectations.

5. Set deadlines. Deadlines are the best guarantee a job will be done. Jot down on your calendar the time or day you want to have a task completed. If needed, ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable.


6. Do advance work--don't wait until the last minute. If you're hosting a big dinner at your home, decide what you can do a week ahead of time, the day before, and so on. Estimate how much time you'll need and when to schedule tasks; anticipate potential time wasters. Then set deadlines for accomplishing goals.

7. Work with your biological clock. If you're a morning person, do your most important work then. Schedule tasks that don't demand as much attention and brainpower during lower-energy times of day.

The secret to effective time management is using small bits of time well. But the idea is not just to do more. It's to create time to do more that matters.

8. Create boundaries. Set your priorities, and don't let other people guilt you into crossing them. Give yourself permission to "just say no" to requests that dent time with your family or time spent nourishing yourself. When you say yes to something, you're saying no to something else.

9. Take charge of your own life and schedule. Do things on your time. Don't pick up the phone every time it rings--use voice mail or an answering machine. Turn off your "you have mail" computer alert. Answer messages when it's convenient for you.

10. Don't wait for time to "free up." If you have a big project to accomplish, schedule work appointments for yourself in 30-minute or one-hour blocks. Be as serious about this time as you would any other appointment. Before you know it, you'll have the project licked.

I have found that these time management principles have been very helpful in my life and have saved me a lot of frustration. These princliples remind me to work smarter - not harder.

Time Management Articles

Quick and Dirty Procrastination Tips - Use these quick and dirty procrastination tips as a practical guide to help you if procrastination is a consistent problem.

Decision-Making Guidelines - Follow these decision-making guidelines and they will help you establish your priorities.

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