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Five-Step Time Management System

Susan L. Reid

Successful time management depends on three things:

  1. Setting priorities

  2. Completing the tasks for the day

  3. Eliminating distractions

Those who manage their time, manage their world.

Here's a simple, easy to implement Five-Step Time Management System that will make time management a snap. All you need to get started is a 3-ring notebook and a 2-week supply of Today’s To Do List. Click here for the Today's To Do List template.

Picture of handSo shut-up about not having enough time and start managing your time!

Five Step Time Management System

Step #1

Beginning with tomorrow, write in the day of the week and begin listing the things you need to do.

  • Things that absolutely must be done this day are listed under I Must Do!
  • Things that would be great if you got done this day though could be postponed, if necessary, are listed under I Next Do.
  • Things that could be done this day, if time permits, though may be delayed without penalty are to be listed under I Could Do.
  • Things that are not your business to do are to be placed on the Universe Do! list

Step #2

Complete everything that is on the I Must Do! list first, without allowing any other distraction or interests to get in the way of your success. Let nothing stand in your way of completing this list. Check or cross off items as they are completed.

Step #3

Move on to the I Next Do list deciding, now that you have finished the I Must Do! list, if anything can be moved to another day to complete. If so, place those items in the I Must Do! list of another day, and then complete everything else that is on the I Next Do list, without exception. Check or cross off items as they are completed.

Step #4

Move on to the I Could Do list deciding, now that you have finished the first two lists, what, if anything, from this list you will complete today. What ever you choose to do today, complete it in full. Everything else will either get moved to the Universe Do! list or on to tomorrow’s I Must Do! or I Next Do list.

Step #5

At the end of the day fill in the next day’s to do list. Then, do something ceremonial with today’s list by either ripping it from your binder with a flourish, crumpling it up into a ball and shooting it into the waste basket for two points, or shred it in your office shredder while definitively saying: “Done!”

Copyright © 2007 by Susan L. Reid

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Copyright ©2007 by Susan L. Reid, DMA

Susan L Reid, DMA, Small Business Start Up Coach, Consultant & Accidental Pren-her™ is the author of Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman's Journey to Business Success. Known for taking the fear out of starting up businesses, Susan provides value, inspiration and direction to entrepreneurial women starting up and launching small businesses. 

To get your copy of Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman's Journey to Business Success, go to WME Books or visit For ideas and start up tips, sign-up for our free e-Zine for entrepreneurial women called LAUNCH YOU! We are blogging at:

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