When my day’s are really busy, I create a detailed agenda to help me manage my time.
First, I created a list called “Daily” and filled it with all my mundane daily (and almost daily) tasks, and included anything that takes time (meals, getting ready for work, getting ready for bed, commuting, etc.). I make them due around the time I usually do them and give a time estimate for each. I do not make them repeat, and usually have them marked as “complete”, since I usually don’t need them on my to-do list or want daily reminders about them and I certainly don’t want them showing up everyday on iCal.
On my busy days, I go to the completed tasks in “Daily” and mark them all as incomplete. Then I go to my smart list “Daily Agenda” which is a search of “list:Daily OR dueBefore:tomorrow” to see the daily tasks along with tasks that are due today or overdue. There, it is easy to create an agenda by setting due times if the task doesn’t have them already. To make this step go more quickly, I usually set rough due times when I create the task initially, for instance, things that need to be accomplished during business hours are due at 5pm, since I prefer grocery shopping after work it's due at 5:30, and since the trash doesn’t need to be out until the next day, it’s due at 10pm.
I also always look at the total time estimated to make sure I actually have time for everything in the day. If it doesn’t seem doable, I look at what tasks I can postpone or what daily tasks I can skip (for example, I can mark “Read” as complete, and free up an extra 30 minutes). I also look for tasks I that could have their time reduced, such as deciding to exercise for 30 minutes instead of an hour.
Afterwards, I know I have a manageable day and have an agenda on hand, to help me stay on track.
Posted at 11:34pm on November 14, 2013