Tools for managing your time

When it comes to organizing our time, most of us struggle. Task management programs can help with both the hurly-burly of everyday life and bigger projects or dreams.

Many task management tools have benefitted from the wisdom of David Allen in Getting Things Done (or GTD). One key principle is to start by getting on paper or computer all the tasks, ideas, projects, dreams and crazy ideas you carry in your head. Then you can begin to distinguish between your simple tasks—buy more cat food—versus projects, which may involve many stages—develop a new book series about cats.

Projects can then be ordered according to your specific responsibilities and areas of work, home or ministry. Then they can be prioritized, ranging from ‘urgent’ to ‘someday’. Within each project, you can also add do-able tasks and put those in sequence. David Allen encourages people never to ignore the major issues, essentially your life priorities. Alongside the new book you want to write, you might need to include, ‘get fitter’, ‘restore the relationship with my brother’ or ‘become a better husband’.

Using a task management program has advantages to your notepad and memory. You can assign due dates to tasks and projects, so that when you open the program, it reminds you of the day’s tasks. It’s simple to add extra tasks as you read your e-mail, review work, or get new ideas. By organizing all your tasks and concerns, you’ll likely relax more instead of worrying about what you’ve forgotten.

Many excellent task management programs are available, and at reasonable prices. For example, Things and OmniFocus. You can try the approach for free with a limited desktop version of Nozbe, available for both Windows and Mac users.


By Ian Darke, Latin American regional trainer for MAI.

Photo above right courtesy of nuttakit, FreeDigitalPhotos.
Photo above left courtesy of Just2Shutter, FreeDigitalPhotos.