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Thoughts on Time Management Strategies

by lyn christian on June 22, 2010

Recently I reported to an accountability partner on a professional project we’re completing together. In the midst of our dialogue around time management I said something that made me stop and think.

“Nothing works forever and yet I always go back to everything over and over.”

When I reflected on the meaning behind my words I realized that I do use some darn good time management tools. And since I’m a blessed with my own unique brand of Entrepreneurial ADD none of them work for longer than a 3 to 6 month period at one time. Once I grow tired of a tool I reach in and recycle a different strategy or model from my set and off I go. This self-discovered system keeps me on track and interested in staying that way as much as possible.

The tools and strategies that I use I’d be happy to share. Many are in the book The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit.  If you want more details just let me know. For now here’s an outline of the types of tools and strategies I use:

Annual Strategic Planning – setting intentions and goals for the immediate 12 month period. These are best when the tie into a 3 or 5 year strategic plan (so if you haven’t gone out and dreamed up where you want to be in 3 to 5 years, do that first). This takes me about 2 hours a year.

Weekly Planning – Take 10 minutes Sunday night or Monday morning to set out the “big projects” that you need to complete this week. Those things that take more than 15 or 30 minutes to complete  don’t go on a task list. They get a slot in your calendar with a time assigned to them.

Daily Planning – the first 2 to 3 minutes of the day is for organizing what tasks you need to complete for that day. Remember that tasks take less than 15 minutes to complete.

Cutting Through Chaos – You’ll want something for those times when chaos happens and all your best planning gets thrown out the window.  I use what I call a “Today” grid (soon to be an i-Phone app). The idea behind this strategy is to quickly prioritize what really is the most urgent path through the chaos.

These are the basics to time management. And for me, none of them work forever. I need to mix it up a bit to stay engaged in my own planning process. I’m curious about the tools and strategies you use.  If you’re up for sharing, Neil and I want to know what tools you use.

About the Author:  Lyn Christian is the founder of SoulSalt, Inc., a coaching and coach training company.  She is passionate about the “free-agent” worker who wants to earn their living and live their lives by doing what inspires them.  Get more information by visiting www.soulsalt.com or contact Lyn directly through lyn@thecoachtoolkit.com.

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