What is the best time management software?
I have been writing and reviewing my to do list every morning and mapping out my day, but I never seem to be able to stick to my planned schedule. I am thinking that there might be a reminder tool or something to help me be more accountable to the plan I set up each morning. Does anyone have any recommendations?
Hi Sara, my suggestion would be to work with a coach creating a new habit & routine and maybe change an un-resourceful belief into a resourceful one.
A tool that is very effective to use in conjunction with your new habit is called: Urgent / Important.
Here's how it works: draw a 4 quadrant shape using a whole page
Here are the titles for each:
1) Urgent & Important 2) Urgent but not important 3) Important but not urgent 4) Not important & not urgent
Allocate / drop all your tasks into to their respective quadrant.
Once you've done that, you will know what to start with.
Put behind all of them a deadline when you want to have them done by.
Check for equality, i.e. that it fits in with the rest of your life and it's feasible.
Once you have one completed you can cross it out, tick it off or whatever let's you celebrate your success best.
If you hang this sheet up close to your desk, where you always see it, it will keep you on track and you'll have a graphical overview.
Focus on Time Reduction,
instead of thinking about time management,
Things or apps that save you time.
Imagine all the emails back and forth when you want to schedule a meeting with someone
Or the emails about please update this task or that's not the right blue color, try this variation of blue
Think of things that will save you time, reducing your need to concentrate energy on the mundane tasks, and help you direct on the creative and strategic areas for your work or business
So it's about Time Elimination, removing the admin things
With that being said here are apps to save you time
Calendly.com for scheduling meetings (you give people your calendar link, and they figure out what is good time for them, without you needing to coordinate)
Slack.com for collaborating more effectively and reduce the email clutter when you work with a team
Zapier.com is an app to integrate other apps together such as you wanting your tweet shown automatically on Facebook or Pinterest post to show up in LinkedIn
The best time the management system is the one that works for you. Time management begins with the way in which we do work which, IMHO, begins with your personality type. I'm a big fan of Myers-Briggs, but there are others. No system, no matter how elegant, will work unless it meets the end user's needs. A person whose personal preference for work style rotates heavily around order, discipline, and rules will prefer different time management system than someone who values flexibility, creativity, and is deadline driven. If the system you're using isn't working for you, it's probably because your personality type is uncomfortable with system. Be honest about how you do work and what motivates you to do that work, and you'll develop a pretty good idea of what you will need for help with time management.
That said, I am one of those deadline driven types, so I like being able to reorder and reprioritize my tasks easily. I use Google calendar, which allows for drag-and-drop repositioning of task blocks and color coding on a project basis, and will send you reminders if you ask for them in a variety of formats – pop-ups, emails, or all of the above. It's user interface is intuitive, and flexible, and best of all it's free!
However, after 30 years in supervision, I find that most people's time management issues arise from poor projection of time needed for task completion. My recommendation for the most effective time management would be to learn how to do project projections using the tools of process control. Begin at the deadline, and work backwards assigning to dates to every conceivable process, whether you are responsible for doing them or not. Some of those tasks will be delegated, but those delegated tasks, if they miss their deadlines, ripple out into your timeline abruptly and unpleasantly. And leave one wholly unscheduled day prior to each interim deadline for crisis intervention.
Hope you find this helpful, free to contact me if you still still have questions.
Time management software wont work for you either!
Simply put you have too much to do and to little time!. I also suspect that unplanned occurrences push out your planned activity too.
Before you invest in any software that will spend money, take time to set up and still ultimately fail, you need to look at what you spend your time doing.
Review all the tasks you do and decide;
1) Do it now
2) Plan to do it at a given point
3) Delegate it to someone else (this can include outsourcing something)
4) Disregard the job altogether.
Also a tip I give to my team and clients is only plan to fill 65% of your day with planned activity, as you can be certain working life will take care of the rest and probably then some. - This way you don't get demoralised when you fail to achieve all you set out to do.
You might also want to google pickle jar theory of time management! it will make you think about work and time differently.
I use SkedPal - http://skedpal.net- a dynamic task management tool that uses Artificial Intelligence to optimize your schedule with the click of a button. It's currently in Beta and available to testers or free.
I define a "dynamic task management tool" as one that goes well past the ability to manually change the date on a task. That's a common feature of all digital to-do lists. These tools also do more than give an easier-to-read, prettier view of your calendar than other tools. That's merely a cosmetic change.
SkedPal (like other programs of this nature such as Timeful which was acquired by Google) actually reschedule your calendar for you. Here is how it works.
First, it separates your fixed calendar from your flexible calendar. Your fixed calendar is made up of appointments that cannot be changed. The program does not change any of these dates. Outlook and Google calendar allow you to build overlapping calendars so it's easy to assign these appointments to one calendar view.
Next, you enter your flexible tasks and give them each some core information - the name of the task, its duration, its project, its due date and one more piece of information that is unique to SkedPal - its Time Map.
The program allows you to enter as many Time Maps as you need. Each one looks something like a heat map for the week showing your unique preferences. You may define nights, weekends, Monday afternoons, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8am-12pm... any configuration you want.
SkedPal takes tasks you assign to a Time Map like "Working Hours" and tries to schedule them in the highlighted slots first. It avoids scheduling tasks assigned to a Time Map outside the designated time slots.
In this way, the user can communicate detailed preferences to SkedPal. This is where the Artificial Intelligence comes in - SkedPal uses a patented technology called "Fuzzy Planning."
Once the first setup is complete, which takes a few minutes, the user can optimize his/her schedule with a click. SkedPal completes its complex calculations within a few seconds, yielding the best possible calendar - an optimal solution.
Given the speed of its back end, the user can repeat this action over and over again, running multiple what-if scenarios and comparing the results.
Essentially, it mimics what we try to do in our heads when we make up a daily schedule, or try to re-schedule our schedule in response to a disruption.
The time savings are enormous.
In the future, I imagine that this capability is going to be present in every digital calendar - a powerful option to be used one or more times per day. Until then, SkedPal is open to Beta users for a limited time.
By way of disclosure, I recently joined SkedPal's advisory board and have used the app daily for a year. It's become a must-use part of my productivity system and I can't imagine reverting to manual scheduling and rescheduling.
Also in the future, I hope to update my book to reflect this new technology because my experience is that it allows user to break a barrier that we ll face... Many people experience a limit to how many tasks they can schedule in a calendar at one time. Calendar optimizers like SkedPal break this barrier, allowing users to go beyond what is possible using manual methods.
I hope this helps,
I have been using Time Management my entire career which stretches decades. I have a paper "The A-B-C Priority System for Time Management" which outlines a simple process. I can send it to you if you so desire, as it is not online as yet.
One big part of Time Management is to FOCUS on what you are doing (and not stop to answer questions like this, :-) )
The most read book on time management is "Eat that Frog" by Brian Tracy. 42 Million sold because you will learn to do what is important first.
There isn't any software for time management. You should prioritize your work in the morning and go according to the plans. Stick and adhere to the planned schedule and you will be fine. You are the best judge of your time and you can manage it effectively.
One of the ways to better manage your time is to find out exactly WHERE you spend your time. I use Rescue Time to help me see where I spend my time in order to become more aware of the areas that are big time wasters. The free version is pretty powerful!
Congratulations... this struggle means you're just like most of the rest of us! There are many (too many to count) software/app options for managing to do items. Understand first that what you're dealing with is difficult so be patient with yourself and celebrate every success!
The trick, in my experience, is matching the tool with the way you already work and the habit of actually managing your time. Buying a tool... $29... taking control of your time... priceless.
If you have a pencil and paper you have the basic tools covered. Seriously.
Your routine starts out well from your OP - write and review your to-do items at some regular interval (in the AM you said). Great!
Now let's start your day...
"No operation extends with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the main body of the enemy." Helmuth Von Moltke - often paraphrased "No plan survives contact with the enemy." In this case the 'enemy' are the intrusions and distractions that tug us away from our well intentioned plans.
So... this issue has been around since at least the mid 19th century :).
There are some great books on this from the fun and entertaining Eat that Frog (previously mentioned) to the very structured Getting Things Done.
I've read both and many others and there's great information in them. But... you can get a lot of benefit from this:
1. Take the plan you already have
2. Prioritize the most important 1-3 items
3. Find a way to dedicate time to focus on just those things
-shut your office door
-go to a coffee shop so your coworkers won't interrupt (mine don't seem to understand the whole shut door thing)
-you get the idea
4. Turn your phone on DND, shut down applications on your computer that are not directly related and critical to the task at hand.
5. Do the work.
All the tools and techniques in the apps and books may add to your organization and memory but they are not, in themselves, the solution.
Best of luck!