Personal Time Management
Time management strategies are often associated with the recommendation to set goals. These goals are recorded and may be broken down into a project, an action plan, or a simple task list. For individual tasks or for goals, an importance rating may be established, deadlines may be set, and priorities assigned. This process results in a plan with a task list or a schedule or calendar of activities. Authors may recommend a daily, weekly, monthly or other planning periods, usually fixed, but sometimes variable. Different planning periods may be associated with different scope of planning or review. Authors may or may not emphasize reviews of performance against plan. Routine and recurring tasks may or may not be integrated into the time management plan and, if integrated, the integration can be accomplished in various ways.
How We Use Time
When we spend time, there is no improvement in efficiency, productivity, or effectiveness. The time is gone without a return. We save time when we perform tasks in less time or with less effort than previously. We use shortcuts and processes that streamline activities. We invest time when we take time now to save time later.
We spend time when we go to a movie; however, if we are a screenwriter, the time spent in the movie is an investment since it will help hone our writing skills. If we invest time to learn screenwriting software, we will save time in the future when we compose our scripts. However, this is still relative to the point that we are able to turn better writing skills and faster script development into profit - if we are able to sell it. In capitalism our investment, might very well be someone else's profit.
Delegation is a valuable investment of our time. When we delegate, we teach someone to perform tasks we usually perform. While the training process takes time now, the investment pays off later since we free our time to perform higher-payoff activities.
The goal is to look for ways a person can save and invest time.
A task list (also to-do list) is a list of tasks to be completed, such as chores or steps toward completing a project. It is an inventory tool which serves as an alternative or supplement to memory.
Task lists are used in self-management, grocery lists, business management, project management, and software development. It may involve more than one list.
When you accomplish one of the items on a task list, you check it off or cross it off. The traditional method is to write these on a piece of paper with a pen or pencil, usually on a note pad or clip-board. Numerous digital equivalents are now available, including PIM (Personal information management) applications and most PDAs. There are also several web-based task list applications, many of which are free.
Task list organization
Task lists are often tiered. The simplest tiered system includes a general to-do list (or task-holding file) to record all the tasks the person needs to accomplish, and a daily to-do list which is created each day by transferring tasks from the general to-do list.
Task lists are often prioritized:
An early advocate of "ABC" prioritization was Alan Lakein (See Books below.). In his system "A" items were the most important ("A-1" the most important within that group), "B" next most important, "C" least important.
A particular method of applying the ABC method assigns "A" to tasks to be done within a day, "B" a week, and "C" a month.
To prioritize a daily task list, one either records the tasks in the order of highest priority, or assigns them a number after they are listed ("1" for highest priority, "2" for second highest priority, etc.) which indicates in which order to execute the tasks. The latter method is generally faster, allowing the tasks to be recorded more quickly.