If you're like many other people, modern society has imposed itself on you and you are busier than ever before. Whether in business or personal life, there seem to be a dizzying number of appointments and tasks to complete in a limited amount of time. It is helpful to take the first step in effective time management and make a schedule.
Pick a format for your schedule. Computer software, a Day-Timer type of planner, or just a piece of paper; any format will work that utilizes time blocks and has room for corresponding appointments and tasks. It is important to pick a format that you feel comfortable working with so you keep it up and follow through on the scheduling.
Compile all your appointments and what times you need to be there, as well as tasks and their deadlines, for a specific time period.
Prioritize your appointments and tasks, and schedule the most important of these accordingly. Less important items should be worked in to your schedule after more urgent ones.
Plan your schedule so you are efficient in your use of time. For example, schedule together all your appointments on another side of town to avoid multiple trips and wasting time.
Don't over-commit your time. Expect that things sometimes will not go exactly as planned, so schedule in some "buffer" time. This will prevent a domino effect of missed tasks and appointments when one does not stay on schedule.
Schedule according to your personality and strengths. If you are usually more productive in the mornings, top-load your schedule with items in the morning. If it takes you a long time to get going on Mondays, plan an easier day.
Plan enough personal and rest time. People are more productive overall when they get plenty of rest, eat right and exercise. Burning the midnight oil is not effective long-term scheduling, and it usually ends up backfiring. Work a schedule that keeps you enthused and ready for more.
Consider using calendar and time-management software such as Microsoft Outlook to handle busy schedules and communicate them to others.