There is not one person out there in the world who does not value the time in their days and how much of it that they have. Time is very important in today’s society, it’s been important in every society throughout human existence, but has been especially important in today’s world. In our busy world, always with so much to do, everyone wants/need to be able to manage their time right, to maximize the amount of tasks that get done and done well.
Managing one’s time is such an important skill to have in life that there are many different self-help books out there for consumption as well as online sites. Like MindTools or the dozens/hundreds of more like them. For me, I find all the info out there useful and helpful as long as I only use what I learn to make a time management system that works for me.
This here is the key to being able to manage your time the right way, the way you want/need to do so. Of all the ways and tools out there to help one manage their time, chances are not a single one out there is just right for you. Instead, you will be taking a little of what you learned from this source and that source and so on to combine.
I am the only one who knows what I need to manage my time. This is something that I have had to come to realize more and more in my current quest to better manage my time during the day. I am always on the look out for a new tool and/or advice for better managing my time, but the best thing that I have found is to not to have a schedule of just what and when I need to do my tasks; but to have a “rough draft” of one.
What do I mean by a “rough draft”, “Surely he’s not recommending I use an incomplete schedule?” No, I am not recommending that at all, in fact, I am not recommending anything, but just telling what works for me in time management. For me, if I try to go towards having a very complete, detailed schedule with what I am doing by the hour each and every hour, I would never be able to follow it. I am just now wired that way to be regimental about my time.
But when I set up an outline-like schedule, to where I have a general idea of how my day is supposed to go with things like appointments and set time things shown and then being a little more general, about the rest. That works very well for me. Here is a good example below.
- Begin the day/wake up at 6:00 am
- Workout at gym between 6:30 and 7:00 for 20 mins
- Research for writing topic at around 9:00 for at least an hour.
This tells me what I need to get done for a given day and at around what time I should be doing them, but it also sets a good pace for me doing the things I need to do throughout the day and transitioning to the next without it being regimented. It leaves room for me to adjust my time to changing circumstances and lets me breathe as well.
That is what I mean by having a “rough draft” of a schedule, it just needs to be able to tell you all that you need to get done for the day, but not be full regimental complete detailed down to the wire. It is very much like making up an outline for any major writing project, whether an essay or a book. You give what the project is to be about, the protracted length, with a beginning, fillers and ending, but you still don’t know at this point how the book or the paper will turn out, but you have a good vision of such.
The same is with a “rough draft” of your daily schedule. The thing to remember with trying to better manage your time is that you cannot control it, or exactly what happens during the day. No matter what you may think or how hard you try to make it so, you will not succeed. It is just a fact of life that we have to deal with. Once I realized this and started to plan my time schedule to reflect such insight, I have noticed a big difference in what I am able to get done and how much.
Now it isn’t perfect and is still a work in progress for me, but the outline way of managing my time works for me. Now I will say that at least for me, managing a schedule requires a lot of discipline, a lot more perhaps than a regimented schedule would require. Which is ironic for me since I did say a regimented schedule does not work for me and yet I am going towards a method that requires more discipline, but to me, that makes perfect sense.
For a system, of managing one’s time better to require a lot of discipline is actually the opposite of a regimental system. To require discipline is to depend on one’s self and one’s own abilities with only a little bit of guidance. Instead of having a schedule that tells you what to do and when to do it, you are free to set your own pace that allows you to get the most done as long as you are able to stick to it. A regimented schedule does not require much discipline in my view because it does tell you what to do and when and for how long.
Anyway, this is the method that I have found to work for me in my quest to better manage my time. Whether it works for you, only you can answer that, but I hope it at least does give you some useful ideas for developing your own technique. But remember, it is only managing time, not controlling it!