5 Ways to Create an Effective Time Management System

Whether you’re a lawyer, doctor, salesperson, driver, manager, or any other occupation, productive time management is a skill that is essential for you to master. Although some professions rely more heavily on a strictly observed schedule than others, using effective time management can make a world of difference in your success. Maintaining a daily and weekly schedule can help you get more work done, better prepare for upcoming tasks and/or obligations, have more time at home, and for fulfilling other duties like customer service enquiries and follow up calls.

So what is the secret to keeping an effective schedule? While people tend to approach time management in a way that works best for them, there are some general guidelines that everyone should follow in order to develop your own effective system. Use the following five points to make your own time management system, and start making your days more productive now.

1. Make it simple

Having an effective time management strategy does not mean you have to have a complicated system in place. All it really takes is a little time to sit down and consider your daily obligations and then work out how you will stick to each task throughout the course of your day or week. Remember, an effective system is simple, and easy to follow, provided you are disciplined enough to do so. Working with a challenging or cramped schedule will likely yield you fewer results, and only leave you feeling frustrated and angry.

2. Go mobile

Depending on your profession, you may find your self isolated to an office for most of the day, or be constantly out and about, either traveling, attending meetings, or attending to other responsibilities. In either case, you will need to have your schedule with you at all times to allow for last minute changes and to keep you on track as far as time management goes.

While most people these days choose to link their schedules and time management systems to their smart phones or tablets, some professionals do still opt for a paper-based system. Either way, as long as you have some way of keeping your system in place and on your person, managing your time will become that much easier, and you will find your self becoming much more productive than ever before.

3. Allow for flexibility

Even with the most disciplined schedule, life will always throw you some curve balls. Therefore, it is critical that you allow for some extra room in your schedule to accommodate unexpected delays, interruptions, and distractions. These include phone calls and meetings that run longer than expected, an unexpected invitation to lunch by a coworker, traffic delays when you are traveling, and even one-on-one discussions with your manager or coworker in the break room while you’re refilling your coffee. Be sure to avoid cramping a bunch of tasks into small time increments, and even leave some room for finishing up obligations you may not have been able to attend to the day before. 

4. Be expandable

As you continue in your professional career, you will likely be taking on more responsibility, and also leaving some of your current responsibilities behind. With that in mind, your time management system should be adaptable to change and able to accommodate more responsibility as you go on in your professional and personal life. Sometimes that will mean lending more hours in the day to your work obligations instead of your free time, but a well-organized schedule should still allow you time for both.

5. Priority based

Obviously some tasks require more attentiveness than others, or simply take longer to accomplish than a half-hour time slot. A successful time management system is not only flexible, but is also prioritized so that you can complete your daily obligations in a timely and organized fashion. Those tasks that take longer, or are more urgent than others, should be given a little extra time than those smaller tasks that you might even be able to group together and knock out at once.