We look to tools and techniques to help us manage time. And they can, to a certain extent – that being the degree to which we take a disciplined approach to their application. The effectiveness of any time management tool is squarely in our hands. To manage your time more effectively, you have to improve the way you manage your self.
If your time is mismanaged or wasted, you’re the one at fault. In knowing that, you give yourself a chance to own your 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, now.
Here are two strategies that, applied regularly, will help you manage yourself and can 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, at least weekly, 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, time for volunteer activities. Determine what adds meaning to your life then make sure you add it to your list of priorities.
Build Flex Time into Your Schedule
By that I mean 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, dealing with emergencies. As a task-driven society, we underestimate the value of devoting time to thinking, planning or just breathing.
The unexpected is inevitable. If you plan for the unanticipated, 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.