How to Manage Your Time Better

January 23, 2013 — 12 Comments

I can recall this one time I was sitting at my desk just working away. I was scratching things off my to-do list and feeling great. All of a sudden an alert went off from my calendar. It was a 15 minute reminder for a meeting that was 30 minutes away! A sense of panic hit me as I snatched my keys and ran out of my office.

Not sure if I broke any land speed records, although I am sure I broke a few driving laws! As you guessed it, I didn’t make it on time.

Image courtesy of Adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last week I talked about what being on time says about you. It shows those you are meeting with that you are trustworthy, prepared and can handle more responsibility.

Equally so, it comes off as disrespectful when you are consistently late.

Here are 3 practices you can start today to help you manage your time better:

1. Plan

Don’t let your schedule happen to you, actively participate in planning your day. You can’t have a back to back meeting if you have travel to your next meeting.

You are the manager of your time.

Plan the amount of time it takes you to get ready in the morning. Plan the amount of time to travel to your meeting. It’s all about thinking ahead and making a plan.

2. Keep a Calendar

This isn’t the same as planning, but once you have a well-organized calendar; it will be easier to have and follow a plan.

I use Outlook for work and Gmail for personal use. I have them both synched up on my iPhone and iPad. This allows me in one glance to see what my life is looking like.

When I put something in my calendar, I always put in as much detail as I have. Not just where, if it’s a new place, I add the address. This allows me to get directions in one click. I also put in who I am meeting with and what the meeting is about. I use the comment section to add any notes I might need to know.

Lastly, I set a reminder. If I need to travel 30 minutes down the road to an engagement, a 10 minute alert isn’t going to help me. As a default, I set it for an hour beforehand.

3. Schedule Prep Time

If you fill your day with meetings, you won’t have a chance to plan and prepare for those meetings.

Schedule some time into your day for this kind of preparation. Add it to your calendar so you don’t book over this very important time.

Time management is a skill. If I asked you to read a book, it would require no time management skills. You could take 5 years to complete the book if you wanted to.

Now, if I ask you to read the book within the next 5 days, you are going to have to have a plan and set some time aside.

What suggestions or tips do you have to manage time better?

Paul Jolicoeur

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Husband, Father, Disciple, Blogger, writer, author. Learner & desire to make an impact on others. Each one of us have influence on the world and this influence is a gift. We can continue to grow and increase in our influence. On a journey with my wife and 2 children in Portland.
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  • http://twitter.com/chadrallen Chad R. Allen

    Hey thanks, great tips here! Learned about your blog via the Platform University TweetChat.

    • http://www.pauljolicoeur.com/ Paul Jolicoeur

      Thanks Chad! What did you think of the Q&A call tonight?

  • http://theaddictionblog.com/ Noah Coley

    Yea same here it was swell meeting with you on the #platformu chat. You have a great looking site and your content is coming along nicely.

    My wife and I are struggling to get on the same page when it comes to calanders. I use Gmail and she uses Outlook, but only at work. Do you know of any ways family’s have can have a master schedule?

    • http://www.pauljolicoeur.com/ Paul Jolicoeur

      Thanks Noah, I appreciate your feedback and welcome it ongoing.

      One suggestion I would offer for a family calendar is what my wife and I do. We each have a Gmail account. When I put an event in my calendar, I add her as an attendee and she does the same. This way the events are on both our calendars. There is a feature in Outlook that allows you to add your Gmail calendar, so you can see all the events at one glance.

      Hope that helps.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarahkj42 Sarah K. Jackson

    Hey Paul Jolicoeur :) I enjoyed reading your blog, especially this time management piece. I need it!

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  • Amisha Ekaant

    Everyday we should think that what can we do to get one step ahead, however smaller or closer to achieve our goals. To manage our time better, first we should prepare a schedule for the day. As we know already that we are the only manager of our time.

    To prepare a schedule, I would suggest to use Replicon’s time recording software ( http://www.replicon.com/olp/online-time-recording-software.aspx ). I’ve used this software for almost a year and have benefited a lot by it. I’ve also recommended it to some of my partners who needed a good software for the management of office routine efficiently.

  • KHJLees

    I use Cozi, a free web & smart phone app, to plan. Our family schedule is entered,our grocery list, meal plans & monthly budget. It helps me not only plan but track my actual time spent. As I am partly freelanced, keeping good records means I get paid for the work I have done!

    Great article, Paul!

  • Felix

    Project management tools like proofhub.com plays a very important role in managing time efficiently. This tool has all the features that are required for managing team, client as well as projects. I’d recommend you to check out this tool.