Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Anticipation - The Greatest Time Management Tool

When it comes to time management, there is nothing more valuable than the ability to anticipate an event or events. Isn’t that what our organizers, calendars, day timers, and PDA’s are all about. The multi million dollar industry of calendars is based on the notion that we like to anticipate what is coming in our lives. With anticipation comes the ability to schedule both our time and our resources – like the car for example. When you look to next Tuesday and see that you have four family members going in four different directions at the same time by 4:30 in the afternoon, having a whole week to work on those back up resources like a car pool is very, very helpful.

Children learn to anticipate at a very young age – does birthday party excitement for a whole week sound familiar to you? Young students are now learning in school to use their school issue “agenda” to record their homework.

By the time the kids hit their teens, they have learned to anticipate excitement, record their homework and use their lockers. Unfortunately as adults, we don’t teach them the time planning that goes along with being able to anticipate events. Even as a professional organizer, I have been slow to teach my own teenager how to use her time wisely. Here's the process that I went through with her to get her back on track with time. It’s a relatively easy organizing task and they will thank you for the time management skill later in life.

1. Find a calendar that works for you: electronic, PDA, puppy dogs, whatever. The size, style and platform are really only relevant in terms of what works and what looks good.

2. Enter in all the fixed dates over which you have no control: music lessons, swim practice, band practice, year book committee etc. Put them in for the whole term or year until the known completion date.

3. Enter in all the regularly scheduled flexible time such as piano/instrumental/voice practicing time. If it is scheduled, the intention moves from a 1 (would like to do) to an 8 (really intend to do) and has half a chance to get to 10 (will absolutely make sure this happens) at which point after 28 days it becomes a habit.

4. Enter into the calendar the activities that lead to what you would like to accomplish by year’s, month’s, week’s, day’s end e.g. On Saturday afternoons I will go to the library so that I have books for my English class on Monday.

Have fun anticipating your wonderful life!

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