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Classic Time Management Articles

Here’s a selection of the best classic articles from literally hundreds on this website. You can explore further by going to the Blog Archive or by using the search box at the top of the margin.


It’s Like Walking Across a Muddy Field
How to get rid of backlogs

I’ll Just Get the File Out
Conquer Procrastination for Ever

Expand Your Ideas the Easy Way!
From first idea to fully developed concept

I’m 90% Sure That …
Find out what you really mean when you say you’re 90% sure

Wholehearted Living
When to say Yes, and when to say No

To Do Lists — How we hate them!
Tips on how to make your to-do list loveable

How to Get Any Project Up and Running
Putting First Things First

One Thing at a Time
Exercise complete control over your projects

An Easy Challenge
Plan your day’s work realistically

Guilty Goals
Do you really want your goals to come true?

Feeling Good
Live better by monitoring your mental state

Keep Your Life Moving
The top 10 tips for keeping out of the rut


“Forget hard and fast rules and commandments of time management - how about some flexible principles which allow for the reality of interruptions, harness the fact that most of us work better with a cut-off point approaching, and let you modify your approach depending on your job situation, your current workload or even your daily mood?
Kevin Burch, The Confidence Coach


Reader Comments (8)

One of my favorite articles from the blog is called "The Way I Want It?", from September 17, 2006. The concept was eye-opening!
April 15, 2016 at 22:27 | Unregistered CommenterEugenia
April 15, 2016 at 22:59 | Unregistered CommenterDon R
Mark I have read a lot of your stuff but don't think I have come across the article One Thing at a Time. Very interesting and so different to catch all lists but also no lists. Like the idea of setting a completion date which could shift several times if you let other projects bump others down the timeline - and we all do through procrastination so non urgent projects become urgent or we are given urgent pieces of work (to someone else or even ourselves) and don't pay enough attention to the details of the impact on how other projects are affected.

One question - when you set your deadlines by estimating how long it will take to complete a project are you also making an estimate of other types of work that still needs to get done such as email, staff supervision, meetings etc?
April 17, 2016 at 12:42 | Unregistered CommenterSkeg

I was originally going to use this article as the basis for a chapter in Do It Tomorrow, but in the end didn't include it.

The answer to your question is that you estimate how long it will take to do the project taking into account all the other work that you have to do in a normal day.
April 17, 2016 at 18:51 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

That's very interesting in the context of the DIT book. I suppose they are really a series of Current Initiatives. I have never really taken to that system because I could not see how to incorporate projects. I am going to give it another try after taking the 10 or so projects I have at the moment and putting deadlines on them after taking account of daily task and meetings (as well as some time "fire fighting" on some of the 10 projects because as some are due now or due soon I probably don't have the luxury of doing the 10 projects strictly chronologically). However in time this could make me Mick Cool!!
April 18, 2016 at 11:18 | Unregistered Commenterskeg

<< I probably don't have the luxury of doing the 10 projects strictly chronologically >>

This is a common mistake. It's much quicker to do the tasks one at a time than to try to do them all at once.

Suppose for the sake of example that each of your 10 projects will take a day to complete. If you do a bit on each project every day they will all be ready on Day 10 but none before that.

So by doing them at the same time no project is ready until Day 10.

On the other hand if you do one project at a time the first project will be finished at the end of Day 1, the second at the end of Day 2, the third at the end of Day 3 and so on.

So by doing them one at a time you gain 9 days on Project 1, 8 days on Project 2, 7 days on Project 3 and so on. Only one project has to wait to Day 10 to be completed.
April 18, 2016 at 13:11 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

My first step would be to look for roadblocks in each project, and set intermediate deadlines accordingly.

Do you need things from other people? My big project each year is a newsletter for a guild. We offer craft classes. Many complain when I send out requests 2 months early. Often, someone is away the last month, so needs to do it before travelling, or before their month-end crunch. Another comes back in plenty of time! and then needs an entire week to catch up on other things. Others need time to think and ask questions. I also set the deadline early, because often they don't give me what I ask for. (Yes, I have considered that the problem is the way I ask. How can I simplify, "Send me a picture of your project for the letter, or bring me your sample so I can take the picture"?)

Does your subconscious need time on anything?

Don't be like my coworker. Today is the 1st. Two big projects, due the 9th and 11th. Days 1 through 9: "Don't ask me about the 2nd project. I can only focus on one thing at a time."
April 24, 2016 at 3:16 | Registered CommenterCricket

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