What are the best time management techniques?

Time Management and Setting Priorities

Make urgent tasks your tip priorities.
Make urgent tasks your tip priorities.

One of the most difficult parts of managing your time isn't figuring out what to do, it's figuring out what to do first -- and second, and third and fourth. Setting priorities may be easy when you have a light schedule or only one or two tasks of high importance, but when you have many items on your daily agenda or tasks of competing importance, prioritization can become overwhelming. However, learning how to properly prioritize the items on your to-do list can help you tackle your tasks in the most efficient way.

Consider arranging your to-do list into the following categories: top priority, medium priority and low priority. Top priority items can include tasks with impending deadlines (for example, a report due at work or dry-cleaning that you must pick up before a weekend wedding) or activities of significant personal importance (such as attending your child's sporting event or fitting in a workout session with a personal trainer).

Low priority items include anything that can easily be put off for another day, if necessary. These are usually easy to identify. Medium priority items, on the other hand, can be trickier to define sometimes. Generally, medium priority tasks are not urgent, but are still somehow essential to your daily routine. They may also encompass items that are "top-priority-in-waiting" but are a little further out in deadline or importance than the items that actually made your top priority list.

Be sure to spend a couple of minutes each day reevaluating your list -- adding any new items and bumping any unaccomplished tasks up or down in priority. It is also important not to be overly ambitious when making your to-do list. Estimate what is realistic for you to complete in a day. Too many items, particularly too many top-priority items, can overwhelm you.

Now that you know how best to prioritize when creating your schedule, continue reading to learn how to stick to your schedule.