There's an easy way you can enjoy better time management in your life: make daily planning a habit.
Imagine that. Think about how successful you'd be if following-through on a prioritized schedule and to-do list was second nature in your daily life.
It can happen for you, and here are a few key guidelines for making time management a habit:
• Set your "Plan Time:" Choose a specific time each day for your planning activities. For example, you can devote 5 minutes over breakfast each morning and hold a 15-minute weekly review every Sunday afternoon. Setting a schedule keeps you accountable and makes planning a normal everyday life activity.
• Commit for 1 month: Make a goal for yourself that says you will unfailingly stick to your planning system for one month. You'll start feeling a sense of progress and accomplishment with each passing day. Be sure to write your goal date into your planner so you can celebrate your success. Then, commit to another month of planning.
• Be realistic: Start at a planning level that feels manageable. For example, you might want to start simple and keep just a weekly schedule and to-do list. Don't attempt a process that may overwhelm you. Once you get the ball rolling, you can add activities such as monthly goal setting and time tracking.
• Carry it: Keep your planner with you at all times, and spend a few minutes reviewing your plans during downtime at work or at home. It's especially important to keep your schedule and to-do list in front of you so it becomes a reliable presence in your day.
• Share the love: Be proud. Tell those around you about your new planning system. Having public awareness will motivate you to continue your progress, and you're bound to inspire others to join you in working toward better time management.
• Don't cheat: Planning is an act of personal integrity, so don't allow yourself to skip a day. It will become far too easy to cheat again and again. Following through on your to-do list and daily calendar when things get hectic may be a challenge, but it will provide the greatest payoff toward making planning a habit.
Start your daily time management habit today. When planning becomes second nature you'll adopt a more productive mindset, and you'll live in a place of increased confidence and organization.