Most people waste a lot of time by not having a productive system in place for managing their time. In this article, we’re going to go over three of the most popular, proven and effective systems for managing time as an entrepreneur.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
=> The Getting Things Done (GTD) System
Note: The GTD system is a gigantic methodology in and of itself. To really understand the ins and outs of the system, get a copy of Getting Things Done by David Allen.
The GTD system involves basically making sure that there is nothing on your mind that isn’t written down somewhere.
Anytime you have a thought that entails a task or action you need to take, you write it down. At the end of the day, everything you’ve written down is put into some sort of task-tracking device.
This eliminates the “vague sense that there’s something I’m supposed to be doing” because you know exactly what’s on your plate at any given time.
You sit down once a week with all your tasks, actions and projects and sort out all your tasks into categories, divided by where you can accomplish the task. For example, you might sort your categories into At Office, At Home, At Store, Online and At Phone.
Anytime you’re at the office, you can just open your At Office list and do any one of the tasks that you’ve sorted into that task file.
This is a grossly simplified version of a very complex and powerful system. Again, to learn the ins and outs, either purchase the original book or Google Getting Things Done for a more in-depth explanation.
=> The Pomodoro System
The Pomodoro system seeks to eliminate time wasting that often comes with checking email, wandering online and other such activities that aren’t actually productive.
A Pomodoro is a time unit of 20 minutes. Once you start a Pomodoro, you cannot stop. A Pomodoro is pure work, with no email or bathroom breaks in between.
In short, once you start a Pomodoro, you’re working for 20 minutes straight. Start a timer and don’t stop actually doing your work for 20 minutes.
Track how many Pomodoros you accomplished during the day. That’s a better gauge of your efficiency than the amount of hours you spent in front of a computer.
=> The Steven Covey System
The Steven Covey system ranks tasks by two scales: Whether the task is important or not important, and whether the task is urgent or not urgent.
A task that’s urgent but not important might be answering a ringing phone from a friend. It feels like you must do it now, but it’s probably not that important.
A task that’s important but not urgent might be finding your life purpose, spending time with your kids or managing your finances. They’re important, but there seems to be no immediate pressure to perform the task.
Steven Covey asserts that we tend to spend too much time on things that are urgent but not important and not enough time on things that are important but not urgent.
To remedy this, rank your task list by how important asks are and how urgent they appear to be. Put an emphasis on getting important tasks done, even at the expense of tasks that seem urgent right now.
These are three very different systems for managing your time as an entrepreneur. Each system has avid followers that swear by it. Which system will work for you? Do a bit more research into each system and try them out for yourself. The improvements can be dramatic.