The holidays have passed, the food coma has passed, and the New Year hangover has been cured. People are returning to work and kids are returning to school. That means dedlines for work projects, the return of homework for kids, and after school activities. After the busy season leading into the holidays and the lazy time between Christmas and the New Year; how do we get back on track? I usually take some extra time off around the holidays and use this time to reevaluate my life in general. I look at finances, short term goals, long term goals, and the systems I use to organise and manage my life. This is not a quick or easy task, but it is one I believe is necessary especially for busy parents.
Setting goals for yourself is one thing. With work, chores, projects at home, kids extra curricular activities, school work, and other personal commitments the question is how to you manage completeing those goals while meeting all the other responsibilities you have? You need to have some kind of method to organize and keep track of everything. There are many books on project management and time management out there. I have read many of the books and tried many of the time management methods out there over the years. I have settled on the Getting Things Done Methodology. I will not go into detail since this is not a post about GTD but about general time management.
Once you have decided on a method you need to setect how you will apply the method, keep track of your schedule, and tasks. There are mutiple tools out there that can help with this. No one tool will meet all your needs. Unless you are going to use only paper and pencil your choice is also dependent on which devices you will be using. Some apps like Todoist have apps for multiple devices and computer operating systems. Others such as Omnifocus will only work with one platform. I use an iPhone, iPad, HP laptop with Windows 10 (for work), and a MacBook Pro (for personal computing). For notes and refrence material I use Evernote. For storing other documents such as Word and Excel files I use Microsoft OneDrive. Both of these options have apps for Windows, Mac OS, and IOS. For scheduling appointment, tracking projects, and other tasks I use Informant (formally know as Pocket Informant). Informant has IOS and Mac apps. It also has an Outlook add-on that runs on Windows. This allows me to keep track of my schedule and task list no matter where I am or what machine I am using.
What method do you use and what tools do you use? Please feel free to leave a comment.