The hardest part about time management is making a real commitment to following a schedule. It can be especially difficult for people who want to work for themselves to work on any type of schedule. I’m a very visual person, so having a calendar and to-do lists helps me organize and manage my time. That’s why I firmly believe in the power of writing it down. Even if it means having a few sticky notes here and there, I know that it will help me in the long run. I used to use multiple planners but now I’m finally down to two. A family planner and a blogging planner. That still doesn’t keep from writing multiple to-do lists at any given time during the day.
Even on my hand.
How To Write It Down
If you’re like me, you might have several ways of keeping track of your time and what you need to do in a day. So here are a few ways to write it down and keep track of your time.
* Use Your Smartphone. Today’s cell phones are really mini computers. You can have your entire life on there, including your work schedule with alarm reminders and everything. If you see a popup on your phone every time you go to use Facebook, reminding you of tasks that need to be done, you will not have much of an excuse for not doing them.
* Try Google Calendar. If you have a Gmail account, then you already have access to a powerful system that can help you put your time in writing, while helping you keep track. You can easily set up different calendars for different aspects of your life and color code the entries. Further you can print out a calendar each day or sync to your smartphone so that you don’t forget anything.
* Use Evernote. This nifty little program can be used to help you keep track of your schedule, notes for projects, and more. It has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get used to it you’ll enjoy using it to keep track of many tasks.
* Try the “Old-Fashioned” Date Book. The old Filofax still exists and many people prefer it to using technology. If you’re one that does, don’t despair because many people stay better organized with everything in writing in one single notebook. If that’s you, you can still do it that way.
* Use a Large Whiteboard. The great thing about having a large whiteboard on your office wall is you can’t escape the tasks that need to be done since they are very obvious. You can also feel accomplished as you erase things as they get done.
* Use Time Tracking Software. FreshBooks.com comes with time tracking software that enables you to keep track of what you’re doing easily once you set up names for them. Make entries for using social media, making phone calls, even doing the dishes, and you’ll soon figure out where you’re wasting time. You can’t get time back, so it’s nice to know where it all went.
* Create a Contract with Yourself. Actually put your promises and goals into writing in the form of a contract. Write down in black and white what you will do, what your work hours are, and what you plan to do during those work hours. Then sign it.
Setting a schedule and sticking to it requires commitment to your business as if it is a job. This isn’t to say that it won’t be more flexible than a job. But, if you have to move the two hours you wanted to work on a particular project, due to a family emergency, you need to then take time from elsewhere to replace the two hours you were going to work.
Seeing the schedule in writing will help you schedule things the best by making a visual representation of your day.