time_managementEvery planner wants to be effective and deliver the goods on time. For those always facing an important deadline, time management is critical to maintaining a healthy client relationship. There is nothing worse than getting a call from your client’s boss asking you why there are still two keynote slots open when the conference is the following week.

There are more than a few tools for planners obsessed with productivity where you can log your day-to-day activities and monitor your tasks down to the second. However, these apps and services can be a bit compulsive and work against you in the long run. In your efforts to be precise about the amount of time you spent on a task, you could actually be wasting time compiling this information.

A better approach is to schedule time blocks on your calendar that are non-negotiable and create task list for you to follow. Use your task list to create realistic timeframes of how much time you expect to spend on a project and stick to it. Chip away at bigger projects by breaking down the assignment into smaller responsibilities that you can get done daily and before you know it—you’ll be organized and ready for your next task.

Remember, if you decide to document your days, make sure you have a clear purpose why because logging your time can be more disruptive and actually destroy your focus when completing tasks. Stopping your natural flow and shifting your momentum, especially when doing creative work, research or making an important phone call, can affect your work quality and efficiency.

For those days when you need to sit in front of a computer, there are apps like RescueTime that runs on your computer and tracks the amount of time you’ve spent on an application or website without demanding data entry from users. Users receive weekly summaries of their workweeks and one of its core features blocks distracting websites.

This service can be effective for employers who need a detailed report of employees who aren’t meeting company standards, but for most of us, we already know to avoid Facebook and other social networks during the work day.