Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tips To Success: Time Management

Time management is by far one of the most important traits for a student, freelance designer, or any other profession in which you have to do 500 things at one time. Why are so many people bad at it? How can we improve our time management? Throughout this post, you will also see a few comic strips regarding the topic. I found them humorous. So, before we begin:

I like to think that I manage my time extremely well. I think others can agree, but I'm obviously not perfect. Nobody is. So, what traits can lead to a person being good at time management? I promise it isn't buying a 36 hour wrist watch! With this post, I will attempt to let you in on some of my secrets and what I try to keep in mind when scheduling.

1. Do not write a check your butt can't cash!

Yeah, that's a lame saying, but true. Don't take on too much work! This can be very stressful and lead to a lot of problems. If you have other projects you are working on, this could affect the quality and time spent on those. You also have to consider your health. Staying up all night to finish that extra website you took on can be bad for you. A good night's rest is critical for your health, mood, and productivity.

2. Use your resources.

I'll use myself as an example for this one. Yahoo is a really great service. I use it for a lot of different things. "What?" you say "There are other things Yahoo does besides organize my email!" Of course! Just like Google, Yahoo is working hard to give you a plethora of free resources.

One of those being the Yahoo calendar. I use this thing to keep track of mostly everything I do, from meetings to deadlines to vacations to more meetings. The wonderful thing about this is that I can set reminders. One reminder send me an email and the other sends me a text. How cool is that! This is just one of the many kinds of resources that are free to use.

3. Small tasks, better results.

You heard! Don't mark on your calendar that you're going to finish that newly signed website at the end of the week. Give yourself time! Time to research, plan, prepare, design, develop, test, revise, test again and launch. There is always time. And if your client says there isn't and wants that website finished, from start to end, in one week, then that may not be the best project to be on anyways.

4. Write it down!

When you're in a meeting or get a quick idea about something you have to do, instead of making a mental note, jot it down somewhere. Your arm, hand, or shoe is always a good place if you're out of paper. Then, once you get back to your computer, type it in to your free calendar resource (see bullet number 1). How are you going to remember everything you have to do unless you have some form of tracking the tasks? Unless you're a master mind, it may be pretty tough.

5. Always have a plan.

You know how your elementary school used to have frequent fire and tornado drills? Well, this is sort of like that. Instead of running into a project blind, know how you're going to approach it. Figure out the time it will take you to complete each task and how many tasks you have to finish. Sort out the deadlines, schedule meetings, and leave yourself some room to breathe. You won't be working 24 hours a day, so don't fill your schedule like you can!

If this post was helpful, leave a comment. If you have any additional advice for others, leave that in your comment to. I feel a series coming on, so stay tuned for more Tips To Success!

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  1. I saw your post on twitter!! i guess your tips are very precise! and you are absolutely right!! i have to take in mind this advices.


  2. Josh, I like how you've got your site designed now.

    And do you life hack? You seem like someone who should.

  3. Aida, thanks for the comment! I'm glad Twitter finally worked. Haha! Happy I could help.

    Lance, I don't know what "life hacking" is. Sounds stalkerish. Haha!

  4. Nice useful simple executable tips..!

    Why not take to the next level..search GTD in Google(not a yahoo fan really :-P) and follow it, this can be truly life transforming or should I say time transforming !

    Also get this book - Getting Things Done by David Allen.

  5. Thanks Anirudh!

    I'll definitely check out those. Sounds like they really helped you, so I'm sure it's great information.