Planning, which saves time, itself can take quite a bit of time. It’s an interesting quasi-paradox that I’m sure you’ve run into.
That planning is long-drawn-out is one of the main criticisms of even the supposedly solid task-management systems out there. Take David Allen’s Getting Things Done approach, for example. Achieving the system’s potential fully is simply overwhelming. Allen’s method focuses more on the capturing, reviewing, and planning of tasks than it does on the actual doing them.
The key to time management is awareness. Think realistically about your time by recognizing it is a limited resource. Always ask yourself, even when you’re planning your time out, “Is this time-effective?”
Don’t over-organize your list. Don’t spend too much time making it look nice. Don’t feel like you need to do everything on your list. Don’t put anything on your list when you’d be wiser to just do the task now and save the time it takes to put it on your list and think about it again later.
Idea for Impact: Refine your planning approach further. Remember, the benefits of any tool must exceed its costs.