Keeping Track of Time: What is the Best Time Management Planner Organizer System?

Page content

What Are the Types of Time Management Planner Organizer Systems?

Before determining what the best time management planner system is for you, it is important to understand the differences between the planner organizer systems. In the most broad sense, there are four broad types of planner organizer systems:

  • Pen and Paper Based (these are your Day Timers, DayRunners, and Franklin-Covey - really anything that can be printed out and kept in binders belongs in this category)
  • PDA (Either on your Palm-Pilot or other device geared towards planning)
  • Mobile (On your cell phone)
  • Computer Based (A program running on a desktop, laptop, or netbook comptuer)

At the very base, time management planner organizer systems all include a calendar of some sort, a to-do list, a list of important contacts, and perhaps even a list of your goals. In addition to different mediums for your time management planner organizer system, there are also different methods of time management incorporated in each system. In the next few paragraphs, you will learn a bit more about the types of time management systems.

Getting Things Done

This system, created by David Allen, focuses upon “mind dumps” where you use a trigger list to get everything out of your mind and onto paper. Once you have gathered all the information that has been floating around in your head, you can organize the information. Anything that can be done in under two minutes should be done immediately. After this, you should schedule the next strategic action for each item. For example, writing a report is not a strategic next action, instead it is really a project requiring decomposition into individual steps. The strategic next action for writing a report might be “Pick up books from library.” Instead of creating a “to-do” list, actions are grouped by category - call, errand, office, etc.


The FranklinCovey system of time management involves looking at priorities and engaging only in the activities that support these priorities. For example, this organization method relies upon having a particular focus that you create through writing a mission statement. After you do this, you identify various roles you play, and you set goals for each role. Finally, you plan on a weekly and then daily basis to acheive the highest success.

Julie Morganstern

Julie Morgenstern is known for being a professional organizer and for her books on organizing from the inside out. Her time management system involves creating a time management activity log and tracking how you actually spend your time each week. After you capture your time, you are ready to create a master schedule that you will operate from week to week. You will determine what sort of tasks will be completed during different times. By keeping a routine, Morgenstern believes that you will streamline your life.

So…What is the Best TIme Management Planner Organizer System?

What is the best time management planner organizer system? The quick answer to this question is “The one that works the best for you.” Of course, the more complex answer involves a bit of trial and error. For example, for the life of me, I cannot stick with the FranklinCovey system of time management. I find, instead that Getting Things Done works best for me and the way my mind works. I prefer using electronic organizers (I use Microsoft Outlook and a Palm Pilot) to using pen and paper because it is easy to modify the information in an electronic system. I found this out due to the numerous paper planners that went only half-used.

The most important thing when selecting a time management planner organizer system is to find something you can stick with for the long haul and to be consistent in using it. No matter whether your organizer is free or you spent hundreds of dollars on it, if you don’t stick with it, it will be totally useless.