I’m sure each of us could pull out a piece of paper and make a list of at least 5 different productivity plans and time management products we’ve tried in our lifetime. I personally have tried Getting Things Done (GTD), Flylady, Franklin Covey, OrganizeHer, 4 Hour Work Week, Outlook Tasks, Gmail Tasks, etc, etc. But not one of them ever stuck. Do you know why? Because everyone is different.
Our schedules, work flows, attention spans and type of tasks we track vary from person to person. It’s just not possible for one system to work for the masses. Through my experimentation there are a few things that I’ve learned that may help you in your quest for time management nirvana:
1. There are only so many minutes in the day. No matter how small and detailed the segments are that you try to break your tasks down into, you only have 1440 minutes in a day. No more, no less. So work with what you’re given and stop trying to over stretch the day.
2. Multiple lists are not necessarily good. Breaking things into 20 separate lists (i.e. home, work, kids, someday etc.) only serves to confuse yourself even more. A single running list of all tasks big and small is the best way to avoid confusion, duplication and forgetting.
3. When you find a system that works, stick with it! I’ve got a great system that works for me yet each time I run across a new guru, book or product I’m a sucker for trying it. This only derails my current system and frustrates me in the long run. I always come back to my norm.
4. Keep reading. While I strongly advise you to create a system that works for you, there is quite a bit that can be learned from reading how others are doing it. I’m currently reading 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam which offers a great perspective on time and how you spend it. One of my favorite blog series was To-Do List Tuesday over at Bneato (although she has discontinued it) and blogs about life hacks are top on my reading list. Why? Because as you read about how others are managing their time and priorities you will invariably stay motivated.
Do you have a time management / personal productivity system that works for you? Or are you a trend hopper like I’ve been? We’d all love to hear your experiences.
Photo: Etsy Store – Liz Babiak