One thing I've spent quite a bit of time getting good at, as a result of my Mary Kay business, is time management. I am SO not the master I wish I were, but I do think I've developed some pretty good systems. Therefore, today I thought I'd embrace irony, throw my schedule to the wind, and sit down to share with you a time management tip I've learned that has saved my sanity.
I quit using To-Do lists.
Yup. I did. I decided never to have a To-Do list again. I decided that if it was worth writing down to do, then it was worth putting it into my schedule and planning time to do it. And that's how I got rid of my lists! I have one calendar, which is detailed enough to plan in 15 minute increments. Not that I plan my whole day this way, but I could if I wanted to. For a while I had a paper planner in which I used one page per day. Now I use my Android to do this. But whether you are a paper person or an electronic person, you can still use this system and get rid of your To-Do lists too!
Here's how it works. Every time I think of something that needs to be done, rather than adding it to my ever-growing (now non-existent) list, instead I mentally assign a time in which I'm going to accomplish that task. Then I open up my planner/schedule, and write it in. Here's an example: In the midst of cooking, I realized that I needed to return a key to someone who had loaned it to us, and I didn't want to forget. Mentally I decided that a good time to do that would be the following day between two other errands. Once my hands were free of the chicken, I washed them, quickly grabbed my phone, and added it into my schedule: "Tuesday, 10:15 a.m.: drop off key."
At first, it took me longer (like three whole minutes) to decide when I was going to get a task done. But as with any skill, the longer I used this system, the better I got, and now it takes me all of 20 seconds to go from realization that I need to do something, to scheduled and forgotten again.
Here's why I like this SOOOOO much better than lists. First of all, my day is already planned and organized long before the sun rises, and I don't run out of time to do what I need to do nearly as often, because it's in my calendar so I don't schedule other things during that time. Second of all, it's been assigned to a certain time, so I don't have to think about it again until it's time to do it. Even when I kept organized, categorized lists of things to do, I still had to find time to review those lists and decide which tasks to complete. This way, it's completely off my radar until I am getting the task done. Lastly, no little pieces of paper floating all around! It's great!
The one requirement to making this system work is that you must have a schedule/calendar that is easily accessible at all times. Since I'm surgically attached to my Android, I found a scheduler/calendar that I like and downloaded the app for it. I don't like the one that comes with the phone, so I downloaded the free version of the Touch Calendar. If you're not an electronic person, you've gotta' be committed to keeping a paper calendar with you at all times... But even when I did this, it was SO worth it!
There you go! Welcome to a list-free life! What sanity-saving techniques have you learned? Comment away...