Time Management Tools + Tips

We’ve all heard or perhaps said something along the lines on the importance of managing our time more effectively. But how?

Lots of tools out there. How about a quick tour?!

Here’s a mini in-depth perspective on To-Do lists from Damon Zahariades, author of the ‘To do list formula’. Damon covers the most popular To – Do list approaches. I’ve kept the way he lists it in original form and paraphrased the detail in short version below.

Fasten your seat belt. We going for a ride!

  1. “The massive, all-inclusive list” = pour everything out of your head (to be done) onto paper. Risk = overwhelm.

  2. “The ‘task + starting date + due date’ list” = start + end date for a task.

  3. “The to-do list twosome: master task list + daily task list” = 1 x master blueprint + a second daily to-do list.

  4. “The ‘3 + 2’ strategy” = Three big daily ‘to do’s + 2 mini daily tasks. (The big daily’s 1-2 hrs each and the 2 x minis 30 mins or less).

  5. “The 1-3-5 rule” = 1 x big to do, 3 x medium to do’s + five small to – do’s.

  6. “The project-based system” = Independent to-do lists for different projects.

  7. “The 3-MIT approach” = Stands for ‘Most Important Task’. Select top 3 per day.

  8. “The Kanban method” = Write 3 colums – 1st column = To do, 2nd = Doing, 3rd = Done. Move ‘To – do’ items accordingly.

  9. “The matrix system” = Draw a square and spilt into four smaller squares. Label as follows: Square 1 = Important + Urgent; Square 2 = Important + Not Urgent; Square 3 = Not important + Urgent; and Square 4 = Not important + Not Urgent. Put to-do’s in respective squares.

  10. “Getting things done (GTD)” = Create separate detailed lists. Review active lists weekly + include a next-actions list.

Damon also throws in on some ‘To – do’ list tips.

  1. Isolate current tasks from future tasks” = Work on task at hand daily + every evening schedule future ‘to-dos’ into next day so they become current.

  2. “Define tasks by desired outcomes” = Link each to – do to a goal you have.

  3. "Break projects down to individual tasks” = Chunk a project down into easy steps. Sequence the steps + then take one step at a time.

  4. “Assign a deadline to each task” – Schedule in order of priority + account to someone.

  5. “Limit the number of current tasks to seven” – Minimum of 15 mins per ‘to do.’ (Leave smaller to-do’s off this list).

  6. “Organize tasks by project, type or location” – Make a list according to each one of these categories.

  7. “Prune your list of unnecessary tasks” – Clear any some day or vague or ‘silly’ to-do’s.

  8. “Estimate the amount of time each task will take to complete” – Call it. Surmise the approximate amount of time per to-do.

  9. “Lead each task with an active verb” – Create a mini sentence out of each to do, e.g. open book x on page x.

  10. “Note which tasks require input from others” – Note which to-do requires input from others.

In any one of these tools or tips you might find something that lands…

Try, tweak, test. See if any work.



p.s. which tool or tip stands out for you most?

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