As a personal organizing freak, I’ve laid my hands on almost every time management tool or concept ever invented.
Below is a list of the best I’ve tried – and, for those who want to read more, some recommended books.
By Forms I mean Excel sheets with calculations, colors, formulas and stuff that transform what you put there, into a nice looking, easy to read plan or image.
Why I think they’re No.1? Cause they’re flexible, customizable and easy to use. Cause you can design your own.
Some Forms you can also find here, on my website: Life Design Sheet, Roles Sheet or The Happiness Map.
2. Long Term Gantt Plans in Excel
An example of this is the Yearly Planner of which I also have an example here on this website. It’s not my invention, and I definitely admire Luiza G. who used it weekly and inspired me to create my own.
3. Mind Maps
I’ve used Mind Maps many times especially when I have to plan a project or have an overview on a complex area. It’s a tool that combines images with structure – you basically put your ideas on the table and draw lines, like a tree, from each of them.
A video on how to use mind maps is here.
4. Notepads with ideas
When I started with coaching and blogging, a whole new world of ideas opened up to me. I found inspiration in so many places – blogs, fellow coaches, books, teleclasses from my coaching course…and I would get ideas when I went to sleep or early morning on the subway. I started to carry a small Moleskine (the very thin pocket type) with me all the time. Believe it or not, that little notepad is the base of all my good posts in this blog, and a very good resource of ideas.
5. Big chunky agendas split in 3
I wrote here about my tools of the trade – I love agendas and organizers, notepads and chunky paper binders. But you can’t find more uses for an organizer unless you split in in more parts – not just for daily to dos, but also for meetings, project plans and ideas. Many organizers come with this split ready-made, but then they have 5 or more sections, and I consider this overkill. 3 sections is more than enough, otherwise you end up wondering in which section to write something.
I use whiteboards at work, when planning strategies or having overwiews with my team. But a client of mine had a better idea on how to use whiteboards – at the beginning of the week, write on a whiteboard in your office all the things that need to get done. It’s okay if the rest of the team sees it – even better, they can chip in and help you! As days pass, start to cross of what has been done. Next week, copy the tasks that were unfinished, and erase the rest. This way, you have a constant overview of the priorities of the week.
A visionboard is a physical board with pictures that either trigger a certain state or that portrait something you want to achieve. It’s a metaphor for a goal, that you hang up somewhere to see every day and keep you motivated. I’ve used one for my wedding, to keep the colours and shapes unitary.
8. Waking up 1 hour earlier
Well, this is not exactly a Time Management tool, but it’s a way to achieve more during the day. Waking up one hour earlier each day – or, if you prefer, on certain days of the week – and having a clear list of things to do during that hour, will boost up your productivity. I use this in two ways: one, waking up one hour earlier as I started my blog, to get inspiration and write new posts; and two, at work, going one hour earlier to have uninterrupted work and sometimes, meetings with my boss.
That’s it for part one of best Time Management tools…Part two, with another round of good practices, coming up later this week!