Time Management Planner - What tools to look for

The right time management planner should have a number of features that you can use to master your use of time. Do you feel like you have too much to do and not enough time. If so, then it is important that you firstly organize your tasks and then prioritize them in your planner.

time management planner

A planner organizes your tasks so that you can master your use of time. By using a planned and systematic approach, you focus on your priorities and achieve your goals.

But which planner to use?

There are many features of good planners. They can be classed into 3 different categories:

  1. Planning tools
  2. Efficiency tools
  3. Self awareness tools

Planning tools

Your planning tool needs to be able to plan across the different time frames.

Goals    

You need to be able to zoom out and see your quarterly and yearly goals. These goals should be SMART.

Weekly planning

Your time management planner needs to be able to zoom in and see your scheduled activities for the week.

Daily tasks

You should be able to see your daily tasks which should be easily prioritized.

Efficiency tools

Your time management planner should be a central location for all necessary information.

Information

For paper planners you should be able to attach important project papers e.g. Franklin Covey Planners.

Contacts

Contacts should be easily sorted and the ability to record information for each contact.

Awareness tools

Your planner needs to be a source of information for how you use your time.

Track your time.

Knowing how you use your time is important for knowing how to improve it. You first must measure it before managing it.

Progress

You should be able to see visually your progress on important projects and how this aligns with your goals.

New habits

Any system comes with a new habits. You should be able to see small wins.

Types of time management planners

There are many different planners, ranging from:

  • paper-based planners such as Day Timers, DayRunners, and Franklin-Covey Planners
  • Planners on your computer, such as Microsoft Outlook or specialized time management software
  • planner applications that can be used on your PDA or iPhone.

Choosing a software planner or a paper-based planner really comes down to your preference. However, since most of people's actions are now coming through email it makes sense that your time management planner is connected to your email.

For this reason, most people now lean towards software tools to manage their time. I really like the Franklin Covey software which mirrors Franklin Covey Planners and also the GTD software.

Both types of systems have their pros and cons and suit certain needs and personalities. Whatever system you choose, a word of caution needs to be stated here.

A time management software program does not cure poor time management. Just as you wouldn't expect a new piano to help you to play any better if you didn't have the musical skills, so it is with time management skills.

Software can supercharge time management under the right conditions, and learning time management skills and effective habits gives you the tools to make the most out of planning software.

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