The Easiest Time Management System
By Jennifer Gniadecki
If you look for time management online, you’ll find more resources than you can shake a stick at. This is a good thing, because time management is a very individual undertaking, and people have different needs for a system. One type of time management that I have not found is the ebb and flow of normal life. It seems that most, if not all, time management systems want you to control time, and box it up, and make it into something that time does not naturally want to be.
With a time management system that lets the demands of your life control what you do next, it may sound silly to think you’re managing anything. It might even seem that you’re giving up time management altogether. I promise you’re not.
This has been the only system that has worked for my family. Far better than Franklin Covey planners and meticulous lists that go from A-1 to E-10 in order of importance and secondary importance. In my opinion, a time management system should never take more time to manage and figure out than your normal daily activities. The harder your system is to learn, the less likely you will use it.
My home office time management plan consists of these questions:
1. What am I working on today?
2. Is a child bugging me?
3. Is it important?
4. Have I played with the kids in a while?
5. Are they hungry?
6. Do they just want a quick chat and then they’ll be on their way?
7. Is it diaper changing time?
8. What’s my deadline?
That pretty much covers when I take care of the children vs. when I work. It has been a lifesaver, because I never knew how to add my toddlers’ needs to a Franklin Covey binder and as a result they were not on there. They still interrupted me umpteen times a day, refusing to understand that we had migrated to the Franklin Covey way of life and they needed to respect that. Not sure what they didn’t get…I mean…Franklin Covey is super simple, right? *laugh*
If you find you’re playing with the kids too much and not getting your work done, add a question that says “Do you really, really, really need to get some work done? If so, please work on that.” Yes, you can (and should) say please and thank you to yourself. You say it to strangers - why not you?
Are you getting all your work done but your kids are destroying your home? You probably aren’t giving them enough of your time. They don’t need a lot, but if you give a lot they’ll take every ounce they can. I don’t mean this in a bad way, I love playing with my kids, but they are very absorbent and will take whatever time is there to be had, because they love you and want to be with you. So try to have one part of the day where you have quiet time together and another part of the day where you play and get loud with your children.
Don’t have kids? Replace kids with dogs, cats, housework, and anything else you need to. Write it on a post it note and keep it on your monitor so you’ll look at it. Soon, it will become a habit and you won’t even need to consciously think of the questions - the magic will happen automatically and viola, you have an effective and simple time management system.
Your home office, your deadlines, and your plans and lists will thank you.
Jennifer Gniadecki is the author of Non Toxic Networking: From Poisonous To Popular. Find out more or purchase the book from Jennifer’s site as an ebook and coming soon in a hard copy format.
© Book and author bio photos courtesy of Jennifer Gniadecki and Non Toxic Networking.
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