With school back in full swing now, do you have more time to finish your work and projects?  Maybe you took on too many tasks and now you’re trying to figure out how to fit it all in.

Well, now is the perfect time to get back to basics and see how you’re managing your time.

Time management is one of the most sought after habits to master and has created a huge industry with loads of products and services.    It’s pretty much comparable in size to the weight loss industry.  You have your books, dvd’s, journals, calendars, apps, and even individual coaches.   Like weight loss, it’s also something that seems so simple to get started, yet difficult to stick with.

Can we really manage our time?  Do we manage 8 hours and magically turn it into 10 hours of progress.  No, of course not.  What we are really doing is managing our Activities and getting them done in the most efficient manner.    One of the best ways to do this to group them by similarities and then accomplish them in clusters.   I first learned about this in David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done.  You might want to check it out for yourself.

A good example is managing email.   Instead of checking your individual messages as they come in – set a specific time to read your email and a specific time to clean them all up.  This not only helps you save time but helps you to stay on task by not being constantly interrupted.   The same goes for doing errands.  Plan all your errands on one day instead of having them scattered throughout the week.  This saves you time, gas, and wear and tear on your car.

When people tell me they have no time, they are often losing valuable chunks of time that just magically go away because those segments haven’t been assigned a task or project.

The best way to get something done is to assign a due date to it and, most importantly, to schedule it on the calendar.  If it’s not visible on the calendar, the chances of it getting it completed are slim.  The reason you make it to your doctor’s appointment is because it’s on your calendar.  You assigned it a specific time and date and you made it a priority to get there. This needs to happen with all your projects.  Just simply make an appointment with yourself to work on your projects on a certain date and time.  Do this consistently and your projects will seem to be done in no time.

If you still have trouble finding time, I highly recommend tracking all of your activities for the day.  Log every hour and what you did for that day.  Do this for a couple weeks and you’ll discover where you are spending the most time, and the least time.  This will help identify those things you should stop doing and what you should be spending more time on.  When I had an android phone, the best app to track your activities is Gleeo Time Tracker.  The one I use now for iPhone is Hours – it’s not as good as Gleeo Time Tracker but it does the job.   There are many apps out there that track your habits and check off tasks when you’ve completed them.  Some even let you see what you’ve accomplished over consecutive days.  This is great to use in combination with an activity tracker.  In using an activity tracker, you want one that you can review as a report in order to analyze where your time was spent No app, no problem, you can do this from an excel spreadsheet or just go back to old school and track it with pen and paper.  No matter what method you use, be aware of your time and where you spend it Time is precious.  Don’t dwindle it away.  Make each day count.