Time Management from the Inside Out is a New York Times bestselling book by Julie Morganstern that discusses the best ways to use time management and organization in your own life. Effective time management is one of the best ways to keep yourself from becoming stressed, and organization often goes hand-in-hand with good time management skills.
Morganstern talks about time as a container; everyone has one, but there’s only so much of it. Just as a cluttered closet has too many items to be organized into any particular order or to see well, a cluttered schedule contains too many tasks to focus on any one in particular or to have them well organized.
When organizing your schedule, keep in mind the “One in, One out” rule; that is, when you add something to your schedule, try to postpone something else to another day.
Overestimate the amount of time a task will take. As a whole, we generally underestimate how much time something will take, but then find ourselves pressed for time or waiting around. Morganstern advises taking a week or two to write down everything you do in order to get a better sense of where you’re spending your time and how much time is allocated for different activities.
Manage your daily tasks by writing it down, adding everything up, and executing your plan. Use the acronym WADE: Write it down, Add it up, Decide what you’ll actually do (and/or delete, delay, delegate, or diminish those tasks), and then Execute your daily tasks or schedule. Sometimes that ‘delete’ is a vital part of time management and organizing your schedule; an organized schedule will quickly inform you whether or not you have the time to do something.
When you handle something, try to follow the “Touch it Once” rule. For example, when you get the mail, handle and sort it right then as opposed to tossing it into a pile of papers to be dealt with later. By completely handling a task once, you decrease a lot of your extraneous workload.
Finally, focus on the activities that support your goals. Doing this makes it easier to say no to tasks that don’t help move you towards what’s important to you, while allowing you to focus more of your time and energy on your goals.