An Individualized Approach to Time Management

This is a guest post on developing a personal approach to time management by Holly McCarthy.

istock_000004118047xsmall.jpgWith all of the advances in technology over the last several years, many people think that technology alone can help you manage your time more effectively.  While this may be true, it can be very difficult to create a one-size-fits-all approach to time management.  One of the reasons for this is the fact that along with all of these innovations, some people have more or less room for flexibility as a result.

This can be seen in the growth of the telecommuting professional.  Technology has advanced far enough that it is no longer necessary to live in the same city where your office is physically located.  Depending on the type of company you work for, you may need to be available for a certain amount of hours per day, or you may simply be given a quota to fill.  In either case, time management is up to the individual.

Self Assessment

When trying to improve your time management skills, you need to be completely honest with yourself.  If you know you rarely achieve your personal goals each day and have gotten into some bad habits, it’s time to address these issues.  What tools do you have at your disposal that make your life easier when it comes to working and managing your time?

Look at your home office.  Chances are you have many different tools that could be used if you wanted to use them.  There are many free applications on line as well.  Is your time management and planning system working for you?  Be honest with yourself.  Do you need a PDA, or does paper work better for you?  The most important thing when assessing yourself is to figure out what is and isn’t working and why.

Personalize and Individualize

After taking a good look at your current methods of managing your time, fix things to suit your needs personally.  If you don’t really get anything accomplished in the evening, start working earlier in the day.  Any distractions that may be around the house could be eliminated.  Working when people are around may be difficult, so try to work when you know the house will be empty or relatively empty.

Of course, individualizing your time management action plan all hinges on you and your ability to assess your own needs.  If all you need is a calendar and a notepad to get the juices flowing and keep track of things, do it.  Sometimes learning a new system or software wastes more time than it ends up saving you.  The main goal is to improve your own abilities, not to do what works for someone else.  It has to work for you and if it doesn’t, you will ultimately end up paying the price.

This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of continuing education online. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com