Monthly Archives: January 2014

Its all about Time Well Spent, right?

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Most people are pretty motivated to start a new year out right.  They promise themselves that they will lose weight, get organized, de-clutter the house, etc.  This year will be different they pledge.  Now, I am not saying that you should not try to start a new year out with a renewed sense of accomplishment.  I am saying that you should set your goals in a reasonable way.
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I saw a quote today “A goal without a plan is just a wish”.  I completely agree with this.  But, in order to make a plan, you need to have a system that works for you.  That being said, no system will work if you don’t work it – meaning you have to follow through and use the system.
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I am going to address time management this month.  I feel that if you can’t get your calendar, schedule, and to do list in some kind of order you will forever be just putting out fires and never accomplish anything.
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I have tried many different systems over the years.  I have tried paper planners that are daily, weekly or monthly calendars.  I have tried merging different systems together.  In the end, I took the best of all the different calendars that I used and put them all together into a system that works for me and my family.
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I need to see what is on my schedule on a daily basis.  I also need to have a calendar that travels well.  In the end, I found that I need to have a “Command Center” at the house on paper and an electronic calendar I can keep on my phone.
Command Central: Dry Erase Board and Loose Leaf Planner

Command Central: Dry Erase Board and Loose Leaf Planner

My solution, is this Daily Planner.  Please feel free to give it a try by clicking here and downloading the pdf file.
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Print one week at a time on 2-sided paper.

Print one week at a time on 2-sided paper.

I needed a place on my daily planner for scheduled appointments and meetings, so I put a time planner in 1/2 hour increments.  Obviously, I also need color and personality.  I keep my personal and business commitments all in one place.  That way I won’t schedule a business meeting at the same time that I have a family event or vice versa.  I also like to divide my “To Do” list up so I can complete like tasks together, so on the other side of the sheet I put my to do lists divided into categories called: Home & Property, Call or Call Expected, Write, Friends & Family, To Do, and Notes & Messages.
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Most of the categories are self explanatory.  Home & Property is my list of things I need to get done around the house.  Call or Call Expected – I need to either make a call to someone or I am expecting a call from someone.  Write – I use this for when I need to write a letter, a blog, an email, etc.  Friends & Family – I use this space for birthdays, gift ideas, anything that has to do with my friends or family. The To Do category is my general to do list.  Maybe I have something I need to do for a client, I jot it down here.  Or it’s something that doesn’t fit into any of the other categories.  Notes & Messages – anything else that I need to write down.
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I print pictures that I have taken during the year and add them.  Sometimes I doodle on the pages as a way to describe the day.  At the end of the year, I save all the pages as sort of a scrapbook of the year.
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I also use Google’s calendar.  It is the closest system that I have found that is like Outlook.  I really like Outlook, but I couldn’t access it from multiple locations and would have to duplicate information everywhere.  I moved all my emails, calendars, and contacts to my Gmail account.  I can access it from my laptop, my desktop, my tablet and/or my phone.  I only have to update it one time and I can access it from anywhere.
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Google's Calendar is great.

Google’s Calendar is great.

Another feature I love about the Gmail Calendar, is that I can set reminders.  I can email, text message, or have a pop-up on my computer to remind me I have to be somewhere or do something.  I tend to get very focused when I am working on something and the little nudge that I get from the reminders allows me time to finish up and move on to the next thing.
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I learned a new trick last month.  If you are involved in many clubs and organizations, you have multiple dates and times for many events and programs.  You may or may not be able to attend all of the functions, but you definitely need to know when they are.  With the Google Calendar you can create more than one calendar and choose which ones you want to show.  What you do is create an Events calendar where you put all of the dates of the clubs and organizations that you belong to.  Put your personal/family commitments on your Personal Calendar.  Put your business commitments on your business calendar.  You can display one or all of the calendars at once.  If you decide that you are definitely going to attend one of the club events, you move it to your personal calendar and set a reminder.  It’s that easy.  You still have access to all the information you need, but you don’t have to be overwhelmed with more information than you need at any time.
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You know, there is no right or wrong way to keep up with your calendar and to do lists.  Not having any kind of a system is worse than having one that you can change and tweak until it works for you.  You can find pre-printed calendars and planners pretty much anywhere you buy office supplies.  There are tons of different systems on Pinterest.   The key is to start somewhere.  Try a system for  a week or a month to see if it works for you.  Remember what works well for you and what doesn’t so if you have find something else, you will know what to look for and what to exclude.
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What systems have you tried?  What worked best for you?  It might be the answer someone else has been looking for.  Please Share.