Everyday planning and tasks management tools and tips
The article features basics of everyday planning - advantages, GTD principles, tips for effective time management, popular software.
Actually, time management is not exactly a right word since we cannot manage or control the given time but can only manage ourselves, our actions to fit into the time limits. That is why some prefer "life management" or "tasks management" terms.
Basic idea of tasks management is to organize your daily life so that you could easier and quicker reach your ultimate goals. However, only a bunch of disciplined minds manages not to lose their hearts dealing with complex time organizers, schedulers and heaps of papers. The majority of common people consider them an attribute of corporate life while still too boring and time-consuming thing to implement in a daily routine.
But here's another idea: no day without planning. The main reason for this is that human memory abilities are very limited in terms of simultaneously stored elements. It was found that most of us can hold no more than 7 (±2) objects in a short-term memory. Which inevitably means that we have to put some of our thoughts or tasks in paper or type in a computer. Thus, we free the brain from burdened need to remember irregular stuff, for example, that August, 12 is your aunt's wedding anniversary.
Another reason for daily planning is that it dramatically saves your time. The idea of GTD (Getting Things Done) is getting very popular nowadays because thousands of disorganized workers and housekeepers have found their peace and harmony only due to the free time not spent on planning and memorizing. They now have got a chance to use the time more effectively on creativity or just having a rest.
Getting Things Done is a method created by David Allen and described in a book of the same name. GTD rests on the principle that a person needs to move tasks out of the mind by recording them externally. That way, the mind is freed from the job of remembering everything that needs to be done and can concentrate on actually performing those tasks.Here are the basic principles of GTD:
Generally, to-do lists are lists of paper or computer files where you write down tasks, planned activities in relation to a certain date or a period of time. To-do lists provide a number of important benefits to your regular planning:
- organizing your life: increase efficiency and therefore productivity, allowing more time for leisure.
- setting priorities: in to-do lists you may focus on the most important tasks and items to improve productivity and achieve more goals much faster. Prioritizing allows to give the most important tasks more attention, energy and time. Having your tasks prioritized also means that you know exactly what will you do next when this or that stuff is done.
- coordination of similar tasks: avoiding repetition of labour. For example, if you have to bring a document to some department and inform its workers on planned meeting, these two tasks can be done altogether.
- tracking progress: mark off the tasks you have completed. This can be especially important when you are engaged into some self-development trainings or processes that involve several concessive steps.
- reminding: being placed on your refrigerator (in case of sticky papers) or featured with audio notifications (in case of electronic devices) it will remind you on all important tasks beforehand.10 Basic tips for tasks management and creation of to-do lists:
Many time management experts advice to introduce a system based on a carrot-and-stick principle: think of a reward you'll get in case of accomplishment and sort of punishment if a task will not be completed by the end of planned period.
It is also a good idea to evaluate regularly how you are spending your time. In some cases, the best thing you can do is to stop doing an activity that is no longer serving you so you can spend the time doing something more valuable. Consider what you are giving up in order to maintain your current activities.Popular tasks management software:
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