Use One Calendar
Use just one calendar for everything. Include on it work-related plans and tasks as well as personal ones. Juggling separate calendars isn't time-efficient and you run the risk of forgetting tasks.
Color-Code Your Calendar
Organize your calendar by color-coding it. Assign different types of tasks different colors. This allows you to easily understand your schedule at a glance. You can have just one calendar but still see your schedule divided into categories like personal tasks, professional tasks, and so on.
Create "boxes" of time for different tasks. A time box is a set period of time, such as an hour or half-hour. You can create boxes of any length (although an hour max is recommended for optimal focus). You can vary the length of your boxes, making tasks that require a great deal of focus shorter and tasks that are relatively mindless longer.
Time-boxing also helps you get things done over the course of several days. If you have a large task or project that you need to break up, you can decide how many hours to spend on it, and then divide the time into daily chunks. Set a timer for your time boxes so that you don't have to watch the clock.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a type of time-boxing that involves breaking up your work into 25-minute boxes and after each one, taking a break of 3-5 minutes. You can continue to work on one task all day if you need to without ever losing focus by breaking it into small boxes.
When estimating how long a task or project will take, add some extra time in case there are distractions or problems. If it's a project that will take four days, allow it five days. If you're scheduling daily tasks in time boxes, make those boxes a bit bigger than you think they need to be. If you don't have distractions or problems, you'll finish early with time to spare.
Set Deadlines for Everything
Set deadlines for every task, even those that are not time sensitive. This will keep you from putting off non-urgent tasks. It will ensure that you get everything done. It also helps you prioritize and decide which tasks need to be worked on when.
Prioritize and Schedule High Priority Items First
Make a list of things to do based on deadlines and work on high priority items first. Do this not only daily but also weekly, monthly and so on. For example, if you have a time-sensitive task to do this week, get it done Monday or Tuesday.
Work with Your Cycles
We all have different daily cycles. These are times of day when we're best at certain tasks. For example, your focus might be sharpest in the morning, or you may find it easiest to deal with communication tasks in the afternoon after lunch. Figure out when your optimal focus times are for various tasks and schedule accordingly.
Avoid multi-tasking whenever possible. People often mistakenly think that multi-tasking is good for productivity. If you're doing two tasks at once, you must be getting more done. However, it's more often not the case. Instead, you're dividing your focus, and not giving any of the multiple tasks the attention they deserve. Do one task at a time and save the others until later.
Schedule Distractions, Communications, and Entertainment
Set aside time for your distractions, communications and mindless entertainment. It makes it much easier to ignore distractions when you know you'll deal with them later. If you schedule some time for relaxation and amusement alongside your serious work time, it also helps to break up the day.
Work and Non-Work Time
Create a definite time when work is finished for the day. Once you finish work, don't keep checking email or doing work-related things. This is important for maintaining a proper work-life balance. You can adjust your work time in any way you like, but make sure there is a definite stopping time.
Conduct a Time Audit
If you really want to improve your time management, you can do a time audit. A time audit is when you monitor and log how you spend your time each day. At the end of a week or a couple of weeks, you can see exactly where your time is going. With this data in-hand, you can decide which things you're spending enough time on, which things you're spending too much time on, and which things could use more of your time.
There are apps and software programs that make tracking time easy. You simply plug in each activity to each time slot. You can also log time with nothing more than a notebook and pen, or a Word or text file. You can find websites that will chart your data for you by making a pie chart or other graphs.
Don't forget that you can log personal as well as professional time. Doing a time audit with your work day helps you to tighten up and increase productivity. If you do a time audit with your free time, you can easily see areas where you're wasting time or where you could get more enjoyment out of your free time.