4 Easy Steps to Managing Your Time Using OATS

Do you have trouble getting to sleep at night because all of the things you need to do tomorrow that are buzzing around your head? If that sounds like you; you need to get your OATS at night–before you go to bed.

The OATS principle is a fundamental approach to time management that’s both simple and elegant. It doesn’t require you to complete huge forms, it just needs ten minutes of thinking time.

“O” is for Objectives or Outcomes:

OATS planning starts with deciding on the objectives or outcomes for the next day. Limit yourself to just three outcomes. Outcomes thinking gets you to decide what really matters.

What to ask yourself:
  • What do I want to be different at this time tomorrow?
  • What will success look like?
What to do:
  • Write tomorrow’s desired outcomes down.
  • Rank them.
“A” is for Activities:

For each of your three outcomes, list all of the things you need to do (activities) to make that outcome happen. Writing down exactly what activities need to be completed will get you over one of the biggest time management hurdles: being stuck.

What to do:
  • List all the activities needed for each outcome.
  • Put them in sequence.
“T” is for Time:

Perhaps the hardest of the four steps: estimating how long each of your activities will take. Think back to how long a similar task took you in the past–this gives a more realistic answer than a fresh estimate.

What to do:
  • Next to each activity, write the time you estimate you’ll need to accomplish the activity.
“S” is for Schedule:

How we allocate time to tasks—or fail to allocate time—is often the reason why things don’t get finished. Work tends to expand to fill the available time, so little tasks, like checking email, tend to take far longer than they need to.

Start by scheduling the biggest, most complex tasks into your calendar as if they were fixed commitments. Plan to do the smaller tasks around them and you’ll be amazed what you can fit in. (Scheduling your “Big Rocks” video, more “Big Rocks” info) Where you have flexibility, choose the times of day when you are at you best, for these big tasks.

What to do:
  • Write on calendar when you will do each activity tomorrow.

The truth is you can’t manage time; you can only manage yourself. However, with the OATS principle, you’ll be amazed what you can achieve—and how well you can sleep!

The best tool to use:

Years ago, the most productive people used several tools to stay organized such as an appointment calendar, a daily to-do list, a pad for daily notes, and an address and phone book.

Today, the best versions of those tools are all combined into PlanPlus Online Essentials. Essentials is the best online planner available. Now your task list, calendar items, and notes-to-yourself are all right at your fingertips—and available on your desktop, smartphone, and tablet.

All of your information is secure and cloud-based and can be accessed at any time—so you can stay organized at any time, no matter where you go!

Take a closer look at PlanPlus Online Essentials.