How to manage time [planning tools for your project]


a man sits at his workstation while his colleagues hand him extra tasks and point at clocks and watches. He could do with some project planning tools to help take charge of his time management.

Time management and project planning tools.


If you’re a project manager, you know the importance of timelines. Your project has a deadline and, to succeed, you must deliver by the due date.


Too often, you spend your days behind time. You’re only too aware of what remains to be done, but there’s not enough time to do it! You’re keeping a smile on your face while talking to your client and team members, but with a sick feeling something like panic creeping into your stomach.


In this post, I’ll explain what time management is and how you can master it. If you stick at it, you will be a top class project manager for the rest of your days. I’ll also give you links to some planning tools that will keep you focussed on your task lists and delivering to your project plan.


What is Time Management, and Why Does it Matter?


The clocks tick at the same speed for everyone. But sometimes it doesn’t feel like that. Everybody else seems to be taking it easy.


Why are other people spending time with their friends and family while you are working into the night? You deserve me-time too, don’t you?


To make sure you get everything done in the time you’ve got, you need to take control of your task lists. With some excellent project management tools to help, time management will never be a problem for your projects again.


How to Master Your Workday Now.


A few years back, I was suffering from high stress and worries about the challenges in the high tech project I was responsible for. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. It made me think of Apollo 13. I didn’t want to go down that road.


I knew I needed help. I turned to Michael Linenberger, and read his book ‘The One Minute To-Do List’. It’s a practical guide to managing time.


Now you take your first step - give it a quick read. You can download it here.


the cover of Michael Linenberger’s book, The One Minute To-Do List

Michael calls his method ‘Master Your Workday Now’. It helps you manage time. When you can manage your own time, then you can hope to manage time for your project.




Get started in one minute..


When you read ‘The One Minute To-Do List’, you will see that it’s actually pretty easy. Just write down all the things that are buzzing around in your head, demanding to get done. They are your ‘task list’.


You can’t do all of these tasks at the same time. You need to sort them out. Michael’s MYN method tells us to sort them into three ‘urgency zones’:

  • Critical now.

  • Opportunity Now.

  • Over-the-Horizon.

When you’ve done your brain dump, you should have maybe up to five tasks that must be done today, before you go to bed. These are your ‘Critical Now’.


If they can be left for another day, they become ‘Opportunity Now’. You will do them today if you can, but you won’t beat yourself up if you don’t.


Allow yourself up to twenty Opportunity Now tasks. Push everything else back into ‘Over-the-Horizon’. Yes, you will do them when you can, but that will sometime in the unknowable future. Meanwhile, they can keep quiet and stop bugging you.


Use A To-Do List App.


There are lots of to-do list apps out there. I am going to tell you about TaskAngel. It has special features to help you look after your one-minute to-do list.


Getting started with TaskAngel is really easy. Just follow app.taskangel.com and you’re in! You can run it on your desktop PC or your smartphone and tablet. They all see the same to-do list, and you can work on it from any device with a web browser.


You will have to register, with your email address and password, so we can keep your tasks in a protected, secure environment. But you won’t have to pay anything until your free trial is over.


After you’ve registered, TaskAngel shows you an empty task list. That’s nothing to be scared of, because your three urgency zones are full of tasks, ready to be captured.

Before typing anything in, go to Settings and switch on ‘Set Up For MYN’. That tells TaskAngel you are using the MYN method, and you want urgency zones.


Now tap the Tasks button at the bottom of the page, and start typing in your tasks, starting with Critical Now. They are critical, so pick the first one and do it. You’ll feel a lot better. You are making progress!


a screenshot of a TaskAngel to-do list shows a task list sorted into urgency zones

TaskAngel To-Do List Manages Your Urgency Zones.


If you are running a complex project with lots of work-streams, create a folder for each one. Put the tasks relevant to each workstream into its folder. You manage your folders in the settings page.


Because TaskAngel is online, you can use it on whatever device you want, using the same link app.taskangel.com.


I like to use my iPhone, so I can keep an eye on my to-do list when I am on the move. But when I’m in the office, I like to look at TaskAngel on my MacBook, because the screen is bigger and that’s where my emails are.


Very nice job! Very simple, direct, and it supports MYN well! I especially love the Urgency Zone titles. I like how modern the interface is.” - Michael Linenberger, author of MYN.


Six Tips and Reminders for Time Management.

  1. Read the One Minute To-Do List and learn how to manage time

  2. Do a brain dump of all the tasks that are worrying you, or taking up space in your brain.

  3. Sort your tasks into Urgency Zones.

  4. Go to app.taskangel.com and capture your tasks.

  5. Look at your Critical Now tasks, and do them before you go to bed.

  6. Pick your first one, and Do It Right Now.


Do It Right Now.


Now you know how to get back control of time. It’s only going to take one minute to get started. Have a look at the One Minute To-Do List, and Do It Right Now.


Go to app.taskangel.com and start your first MYN to-do list.


Author.


Andrew Boswell.

Director of IT at Iconic Project Management Limited.

Andrew is a Programme Director with more than 40 years experience in IT and Telecoms. In his blog he writes about how to improve productivity.

Andrew is the author of TaskAngel To-Do List.


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