You all voted today on what we should talk about next. Time Management edged out Self-Editing by one vote.
So we’ll be talking about “Best Practices in Time Management” for the next few days.
I’m glad this topic won, because it’s something that I’ve been trying desperately to get better at for the last year and a half. When I was laid off from my day job 2 years ago, I thought I’d have all the time in the world to do all the projects I’d ever wanted to do.
I was half right. I started working on all the projects I’d ever wanted to do — all at the same time. But I still had exactly as much time as I had before. And I got defocused pretty quickly.
After about six months, I realized that I needed to learn to manage my time better. So I started looking. And thinking. And looking some more.
There really aren’t any deep secrets here. The key things everyone tells you to do are these:
3) Take Action
I’ve gotten better at those, and have written several columns in my e-zine on various facets of time-management. But one thing I really wanted was some software to help me out with the boring, repetitive parts. I couldn’t find what I wanted.
Here is what I wanted my software to do:
1) Help me decide my priorities.
2) Help me sort out the Big Picture from the Little Picture.
3) Keep track of tasks for the future, but hide them until I’m ready to do them.
4) Roll over items that I didn’t do yesterday to today.
5) Keep track of tasks I’ve delegated.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any software to do that. So I came up with my own scheme using a series of To Do Lists on paper that manage my life in smaller and smaller time increments (years, quarters, months, weeks, and days). That’s worked well for #1, #2, and #3 above, but I couldn’t easily roll over daily tasks on paper (I had to copy them by hand) and I didn’t have a good scheme to track tasks that I’d delegated. And it was ON PAPER, which is a hassle.
For awhile, I was seriously considering writing my own software so it would do exactly what I want it to do.
Then I found a tool that’s ALREADY WRITTEN that meets all 5 of my requirements above and it has a few other advantages:
1) It’s web based, so I can manage my time from any computer connected to the web.
2) It comes with a 20-day training program to teach me time management skills.
3) Every day it walks me through a procedure to set my goals for that day.
The funny thing is that I’ve known about this tool for about six months, but I didn’t start using it until recently because I didn’t like the name: “Simpleology 101“. I thought it sounded too simplistic to be useful. And I hate simplistic solutions to complex problems. But I finally decided to give it a whirl, even if I didn’t like the name.
I love this program! I’ve been using it for the last 5 weeks, and I have suddenly become a LOT more focused. Simpleology 101 helped me define all the things I really want in life and then it asked me to choose one to work on RIGHT NOW. I did, and . . . that was the key to getting me focused.
Of course, Simpleology 101 isn’t magic. It’s a little bit of work every day. I spend my first 10 minutes every morning going through a procedure to set my goals. But I actually enjoy doing it, because the program walks me through each step and keeps track of all my decisions. I don’t have to remember the process. I don’t have write anything on paper. All I have to do is make executive decisions.
Here’s the best part of it. Simpleology 101 is FREE. (Simpleology 101 is about Time-Management. There are some followup courses on managing your money and increasing your energy that you have to pay for. But those are optional. I liked Simpleology 101 so much that I bought 102 and am working through that right now.) Quite simply, I think Simpleology 101 is the best thing going in time management.
So I hereby declare Simpleology 101 to be a “Best Practice in Time Management.”
In the next few days, I’ll talk more about what I love about Simpleology 101.