We learnt these 9 easy steps after researching free time management apps and emerging best practices across 24 countries.  We interviewed team leaders, mid-level managers, senior executives, CxOs, business owners / entrepreneurs (including mums with young kids), consultants, freelancers and coaches. Here are the findings.

1) Create a morning cadence that works for you

Interestingly, from our research participants across the 24 countries, all of the brilliant and top performers on time management had a consistent morning routine.  For most it included a mix of exercise, healthy eating, meditation and some research/reading/learning/thinking time before the chaos of getting kids off to school or daily huddle calls.

2) Check your weekly priorities

Best practice is to set your weekly priorities before you start the week.  Then as you plan each day you can tag your to-do’s against those priorities.  Most of our research participants set 2-6 work and personal priorities each week.

The free time management app stratappsaas.com allows you to do this easily at an individual level, then at a team level you can use their OKR feature to set and collaborate on team level objectives for the month or quarter.

3) Brain dump your to-do’s for the day

At this step you are not committing, you are simply listing out everything you may want to do today.

The free time management app stratappsaas.com allows you to split these into quick and longer to-do’s, and whether or not they are work or personal related.

4) Add the relevant to-do’s you have in queue (i.e. to-do’s you did not complete before today)

The free time management app stratappsaas.com allows you to easily drag-and-drop from the queue.

5) Mark the to-do’s that are truly “must do”

The free time management app stratappsaas.com allows you to do this easily and you can also mark to-do’s that you are waiting on others for more inputs and those to-do’s you consider to be deep work, requiring your concentration.

The app also allows you to tag each work and personal to-do to a week or month priority.

6) Estimate the planned time for each to-do

The free time management app stratappsaas.com does this for you automatically – setting as default 30 minutes for longer to-do’s and 5 minutes for quick to-do’s, which you can easily adjust as suits you.

The app also automatically schedules the to-do’s around one combined view of your work and personal calendars, applying your preferred order of to-do’s (the next step below).

7) Order the to-do’s for today in a way that suits you

For example, you may prefer to do deep challenging work first thing in the morning, or you may prefer to start with the things other people are waiting on.

The free time management app stratappsaas.com allows you to set the order by drag-and-drop.  You can also drag to-do’s across days and into and out of the queue.

8) Check your capacity and planned finish time

The free time management app stratappsaas.com does this for you automatically.

This will help you eliminate the #1 source of stress for high performers and conscientious workers: overcommitting the day.

9) Ask yourself the following before you start the day:

  • Can my day better focus on achieving my priorities for this week and quarter?
  • Should I defer, cancel, automate or delegate any of these to-do’s?
  • Should I attend, defer, cancel, automate or delegate these meetings?
  • Have I allowed sufficient time for the “life” part of work-life balance (e.g. healthy eating, exercise, recreation, time with loved ones, spirituality, learning and contribution)?

Free Time Management App

stratappsaas.com is a free time management app that makes it easy for you to do steps 2 to 9.  

That free app updates your capacity and planned finish time, and automatically schedules your to-do’s around your work and personal calendar events. It presents all of this to you on one screen on your mobile and one page on your desktop, and if you have an assistant they can help manage your day by accessing the desktop view.

This free time management app will soon include the ability to run team daily huddles and for team members to collaborate on their priorities, capacity and plan for each day; of course with personal to-do’s and personal calendar events removed from team shared views.

You may also like to take a deeper dive with this article on mastering time management.