A-B-C's of Time Management

Here's a step-by-step plan for how to more effectively manage your time:

1. Write a daily "To Do" list at the same time every day. Most people do this first thing in the morning or just before they go to sleep in the evening. Brainstorm everything you need to do in that day on this list.

2. Review the list and break large tasks down into smaller tasks.

3. Prioritize the list using the following method:

It's an "A" priority if…

  • It supports a personal / professional long-term goal.
  • It is in support of other people your work with or have relationships with.
  • It is both urgent and important.
  • If you are unsure, ask yourself, "what terrible thing would happen if I didn't do this today?"

It's a "B" priority if…

  • It is important, but doesn't meet the "A" criteria of urgency.
  • Time, a waiting period, will usually elevate "B's" to "A's" or drop them down to "C's."

It's a "C" priority if…

  • It's a nice thing to do, but really not that important.
  • Be ruthless. Only give yourself one "A-1" priority. You may have an "A-2" and "A-3," but only top priorities get this category.

4. Delegate those tasks that would more appropriately be done by someone else. On your "To Do" list, write the name of the person to whom you are delegating the task.

5. Schedule your day. Decide when to do your "A-1" first. Consider your daily energy cycle so that you do your most important or demanding task(s) when you are most alert. Schedule your tasks evenly throughout the day, allowing time for unexpected events should they arise. You do not want to have every moment of your day rigidly planned out.

Additional Time Management Tips

  • Assign a deadline for each and every task or project.
  • Whenever possible, work on one task at a time and work on it until it is completed.
  • Make "personal time" an "A" priority everyday.
  • Respect your physical and mental limitations by learning how to say "no" when asked for favors that impede progress toward achieving your priorities.
  • Be prepared for waits and make "waiting time" into useful time.
  • Strive for balance - schedule time for what you want to do as well as for what you need to do.