We look to tools and techniques to help us manage time.  And they can, to a certain extent.  They only work to the degree that we take a disciplined approach to their application.  The effectiveness of any time management tool is squarely in our hands.  To manage our time more effectively, we have to improve the way we manage our selves.

If your time is mismanaged or wasted, you’re the one at fault.  It may be hard to hear, but knowing that gives you the power to change the situation.  You can begin using your time more consistently to do what best serves your goals and helps you live a better, more satisfying life.

Here are two strategies that, applied regularly, will help you manage yourself. They can also have a ripple effect on your behavior as the owner and manager of your time.  

Make the Meaningful a Priority.  Put time in your schedule least weekly, or perhaps daily, to do something meaningful, in addition to your daily work.  This might include time with loved ones, time to meditate, to read for pleasure, time to exercise or to volunteer.  Determine what adds meaning to your life then make sure you add it to your list of priorities.  

Build Flex Time into Your Schedule.  Leave two to three hours each day unscheduled.  Block it off on your calendar as “Flex Time” or whatever you want to call it.  The point is, it’s scheduled time on your calendar.  Don’t double book yourself.  You can move your Flex Time or shift it, but don’t delete it and give it away.  Keep this time sacred and use it for thinking, planning, handling the unexpected or dealing with emergencies.  It’s a good way to make sure you have time for the unavoidable surprises.  If you do this, you’ll spend less time putting out fires and more time focused on the activities that fulfill you and move you closer to your goals.