If you're going to take control of YOUR life and make it great, you'll need to start by taking control of your time. Time management is foundational to succeeding in any area of life. In words of "the father of management theory" Peter Drucker, "until we can manage TIME, we can manage nothing else."
An entire industry has been born out of need to better manage our time. You can buy leather bound planners, fancy software packages, books, tapes and hand-held computers. You can even attend week long seminars that teach better time management skills.
I'm sure most of those resources are very good. I'd like to suggest however, before spending your hard earned money on any of them, you try these 10 simple tips for effective time management.
1. It's not time management. It's self management. You can't control time and so, you certainly can't manage it. You get as much time as anyone else. You CAN control yourself - what you be and do in each moment of time. In words of English poet, Austin Dobson, "Time goes, you say? Ah, no! Alas, time stays, we go."
2. Keep and USE a simple, "block" type, weekly calendar. I use a two page weekly calendar with one hour increments in each block. Page 1 covers Mon-Sun, 4 a.m.-12 noon. Page 2 covers Mon-Sun, 1 p.m.-9 p.m. Each one hour block of time should be big enough to write in any appointments. You can use Microsoft Works to print a calendar such as this. Keep it with you at all times.
3. Keep a simple, "block" type, monthly calendar. Any appointments that don't fall in current week can be written in one of blocks on your monthly calendar. Again, Microsoft Works will produce a monthly calendar such as this. Keep this calendar with you all time as well.
4. Plan your week in advance. Spend an hour Sunday evening planning coming week. Transfer appointments from your monthly calendar to your weekly calendar. When you see how many open blocks of time you actually have, you'll feel a much greater sense of control and peace.
5. Invest each one hour block of time. Each of your one hour blocks represents an investment opportunity. How you invest your block will determine your future return. What you sow in each block, you will reap in future blocks. Consider cutting back on any activities that will not yield some benefit, such as excessive TV or web surfing.