The 3 Column Method — Your Key to More Effective Planning

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Use the 3 Column Method to plan your time.

What do I mean by the 3 Column Method? And how does it help you with your planning?

Well, using schedules and to-do lists is a time management skill that many of you are familiar with. 

So, this is a variation on these tools that can help you fine-tune them.

Using it you’ll increase your effectiveness AND decrease feelings of frustration and overwhelm.

The 3 Column Method

The first thing to know about the 3 Column Method is that you can adapt it to pretty much any time management tool that you use. 

The basic idea is to plan your time and then, after the fact, review how things went and how closely you managed to conform to your plan.  That’s where the 3 Columns come in. The first column is for your plan, the second is for what actually happened, and the third is for a deeper review.

Plan ahead…

I recommend doing your planning the night before, and then reviewing your day and planning the next day before you go to bed. This will also be when you’re planning for the next day.

It’s a good idea to have your list be sequential.  There may be some tasks on your list that have a specific time attached to them. Others may simply be in sequence and can be done within a more general frame. 

If you have goals — for example to exercise for 20 minutes — include that in your plan.

Here’s a very simple sample:

As you see, your plan and your review can be quite brief. You just need enough information so that you can tweak your plans meaningfully and realistically as you move forward.

It’s just information…

One of the key things to keep in mind when using the 3 Column Method is that this is not grist for your inner critic. You want to simply observe yourself, not judge yourself.

As you use this tool you will begin to clearly see your patterns.  Are there goals that you consistently don’t meet?  Maybe you need to move them to another time of day or consider modifying them in some other way.

The 3 Column Method gives you excellent information about your time baseline, as well as daily opportunities to adjust your planning and find more time. How will you incorporate this into your daily time planning?  And how will you assess your results? 

Ready to try the 3 Column Method?

The Three-Column Scheduling Template gives you a simple and practical format for using the 3 Column Method. It helps you zero in on the snags in your schedule so you can address them and find more time.

  • Recognize patterns like procrastination, over-booking, not being able to say no, etc..
  • Concretize your time choices and their impact on your day.

Click the link and download your complimentary time tool today.

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