Time Management Systems
Summary of leading Systems
There are many time management systems available today. An effective system is a key part of getting control of your time. Most people need some sort of a system to save time and make time -- because it is pretty much impossible to keep it all in your head.
We like to save you time so we have summarized the key aspects of some of the leading systems available. We beleive this information will help you choose the System that is right for you -- that is, right for you to use as the basis YOUR system (remember this is a tool for you -- you are the master not the slave!)
The Systems we have selected for this overview are:
Getting Things Done - GTD - David Allen Time Management
Franklin Time Management -- Fraklin Covey
Time Power -- Brian Tracy
Time Managament from the Inside Out -- Julie Morgenstern
Firstly lets look at why you should consider using a System at all. Well, as I mentioned above and all the experts and research agrees, we do not funtion well if our mind is full with all the things we need to do, remember, plan, follow-up on and so on.
The idea of a System is that it captures all key information. Think of it as a download for your brain (in the same way you download songs from itunes to your ipod). We believe that your time management system is the how you collect and process for ALL your appointments, actions, notes, contacts, reminders, plans and goals.
Next we move on to what we suggest you look for as a starting point for your System.
Look for a System that includes:
There are many books and articles that claim to be time managment systems, but are really time management ideas or tips. A system is a way or operating and the system needs to help you spend your time well.
Please note, that we are talking about a system here, not a planner or diary. Read our sumary of time management planners.
At Time Managment Central we don't have A SYSTEM that we have developed and want you to use. Our view point is that YOU need to custom make your own system. This the best way to make sure you have a system that works for you AND that you are committed to using. On the other hand, getting started can be much easier for some people when the system is already defined and layed out for them.
So, we have summarised 4 leading systems for you.
Let's look at each in a little more detail.
This book and system has massive following. The subtle effectiveness of GTD lies in its common sense notion that a complete and current inventory of all your commitments, organized and reviewed in a systematic way, allows you focus on what needs to be done at any given time.
The step-by-step method includes;
Capturing anything and everything that has your attention; Defining actionable things into outcomes and concrete next steps; Organizing reminders and information in categories; Keeping current with frequent reviews of the six horizons (purpose, vision, goals, areas of focus, projects, and actions)
The Getting Things Done system is very thorough and works best when you follow all the steps Allen suggests. It does take time and effort to get started. It does take discipline to follow all the steps. On the other hand, it is very easy to "get back on" if you stop using the system for a little while.
Who might use the David Allen Time Managment System?
There are two key factors that will determine whether this is for you. The GTD system is great for someone who wants a system they don't have to think about -- just follow all the steps and it will work.
The other key aspect of David Allen's Time Management System is that it starts from the "bottom-up". That is it starts by getting control of every little thing that is in your life at the moment. It starts with the tasks rather than your goals or vision or life purpose.
If these factors are important to you then this system is a great way to go.
Here is a time video of David Allen talking at Google about GTD - getting things done
This system is based on the best selling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. The Franklin Time Management approach is a top down approach, the opposite of the David Allen System.
What this means is that you get clear about your life vision (or big goals), then medium goals, then short term goal. You clearly define your values and the roles you have in your life (mother, manager, sports coach etc. ). You use these to guide you in planning your life, year, week or day.
The system uses the concept of a compass to make sure you are always heading "true north" (where true north is your Big Goal). Everything you do is within the context of the big picture and this helps you decide on priorities and what to do next.
Referring to your goals and your roles also allows you to keep focus on balance in your life. You should be spending some time each week for each key role. You should be basing your actions each week on what are the most important goals in your life at this point in time.
The other key aspect of the Franklin Time Management System is the Time Management Matrix with the four quadrants. The quadrants are: I - Important and Urgent II - Important, Not Urgent III - Not important and Urgent IV - Nor important, not urgent
Covey believes (and from my experience I agree) that most people spend too much time in quadrants I, III and IV. This system encourages you to spend much more time in quarant II.
Who might use the Franklin Time Management System?
There are two key factors that will determine whether this is for you. If you are big fan of the Seven Habits book, then this is a great system for you. Secondly if you feel you prefer to know your Vision, Goals, Values and roles and use this to plan & prioritise, then this is a good system for you.
The other advantage of this system is that there are many add-ons that make it easy to use the system. Planners, Outlook ad-ins, online help, training and workshops are all available for this system.
Time Power is what I call a tactical time managment system. It uses goals (so you need to be clear about your goals), but it also gives practical guidelines on how to make sure you spend your time well.
Brian Tracy suggest that your over-all self-image and your self-image about time management has a big impact on how well you use your time or a time management system. Tracy believes in building good habits through discipline.
Tracy uses the analogy a factory when describing the system. There are inputs, there are production activities/actions and there are outputs. Tracy suggest we need to always be aware of the outputs and this should guide everything else.
Who might use the Time Power Time Management System?
This system suits people who are looking for specific guidance with their system. If you wants suggestions on how to overcome procrastination or what are likely to be the biggest time wasters to overcome or you doubt your ability to be better at time management, then this system could suit you.
This time management system is practical and hands on. Morgenstern helps you look at key factors like where you time goes, what is your motivation behind doing (or not doing) something your realtionship with time. This time management system also helps you deal with your physical environment (or mess!).
There are some vey useful aspects to this system, including making time tanglible, time mapping and estimating the time to do a task (which is something I find most people are really bad at). The WADE formula is one our readers and clients have found beneficial. W = write it down. A = add it up (how long will it take). D = decide (to do or no to do). E = execute.
Who might use the Time Management from the Inside Out System?
This time management system suits people who want a simple but effective approach. If you are looking for something practical with good structure, but not too many "rules" this could be for you. Also, if want a system to help you clean up a physical space, this system covers that very well.
Time Management Quotes -- Time Management quotes that inspire. Famous people on time. Quotes about time that make you laugh.
Even more Time Management Quotes -- Needs a quote for your site, article or book. Look through our pages of time management quotes
Time Management Articles -- A comprehensive library of time management articles with information that really saves you time.
Time Management Books -- Reviews of time management books to save you time working out which books you should read.