Handout 3: Time Management for the Time Challenged

Ask how many participants have tried a time management system similar to the one used in Activities 1 and 2, but found it unhelpful. Remind participants that although the time log/priority list is a well-established time management staple, it is not the only way. Sometimes people's creativity or unique style can get in the way of time management, but that's no reason to change one's personality or give up on being efficient.

Review these contrarian time management tips from author Ann McGee-Cooper. You can also download a printable version of these tips.

  1. Use fun supplies and bright colors for your to-do list. Silly slogans and fluorescent file folders will make getting organized less oppressive.
  2. Use the pile technique of organization—everything for one project in one pile. As long as you know where things are, who cares if your desk looks messy?
  3. Decide which tasks can be done less than perfectly and let "quick and dirty" suffice.
  4. Look for ways to let one effort serve more than one purpose. Reuse the copy you write for your prospecting letter as a part of your listing presentation.
  5. Let survival of the fittest decide what gets done. If a less important item remains on your to-do list for more than three months, let it die.
  6. Give yourself a present or other reward for completing a tough task on time.
  7. Build in flexibility by using post-it notes attached to a bulleting as your to-do list. Then it’s easy to change the priority order without erasing and feeling as if you’ve made an error.
  8. Keep your to-do list in plain sight so you won’t be as likely to ignore it.
  9. Before you agree to perform a job, estimate how much time it will take. That may help you say no.
  10. No matter what the deadline, take a break in a big project for 5 to 10 minutes of relaxation. You’ll come back refreshed and more creative.

Source: Time Management for Unmanageable People, by Ann McGee-Cooper (Bantam Books, 1994)