I can recall this one time I was sitting at my desk just working away. I was scratching things off my to-do list and feeling great. All of a sudden an alert went off from my calendar. It was a 15 minute reminder for a meeting that was 30 minutes away! A sense of panic hit me as I snatched my keys and ran out of my office.

Not sure if I broke any land speed records, although I am sure I broke a few driving laws! As you guessed it, I didn’t make it on time.

Image courtesy of Adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last week I talked about what being on time says about you. It shows those you are meeting with that you are trustworthy, prepared and can handle more responsibility.

Equally so, it comes off as disrespectful when you are consistently late.

Here are 3 practices you can start today to help you manage your time better:

1. Plan

Don’t let your schedule happen to you, actively participate in planning your day. You can’t have a back to back meeting if you have travel to your next meeting.

You are the manager of your time.

Plan the amount of time it takes you to get ready in the morning. Plan the amount of time to travel to your meeting. It’s all about thinking ahead and making a plan.

2. Keep a Calendar

This isn’t the same as planning, but once you have a well-organized calendar; it will be easier to have and follow a plan.

I use Outlook for work and Gmail for personal use. I have them both synched up on my iPhone and iPad. This allows me in one glance to see what my life is looking like.

When I put something in my calendar, I always put in as much detail as I have. Not just where, if it’s a new place, I add the address. This allows me to get directions in one click. I also put in who I am meeting with and what the meeting is about. I use the comment section to add any notes I might need to know.

Lastly, I set a reminder. If I need to travel 30 minutes down the road to an engagement, a 10 minute alert isn’t going to help me. As a default, I set it for an hour beforehand.

3. Schedule Prep Time

If you fill your day with meetings, you won’t have a chance to plan and prepare for those meetings.

Schedule some time into your day for this kind of preparation. Add it to your calendar so you don’t book over this very important time.

Time management is a skill. If I asked you to read a book, it would require no time management skills. You could take 5 years to complete the book if you wanted to.

Now, if I ask you to read the book within the next 5 days, you are going to have to have a plan and set some time aside.

[Tweet “Time management is getting what you have to get done, in the time you need to get it done in.”]

What suggestions or tips do you have to manage time better?