Fact! Let's keep it simple and start with some other time management facts.
Time Management Fact 1 - a day is 24 hours long.
Time Management Fact 2 - we spend about 10-12 hours a day being a human. Sleeping, eating, relaxing and other basic needs take their fair share of our precious time That's at least 40% of each and every day simply to keep us going.
Time Management Fact 3 - the remaining 50-60% of our time is ours to do with as we please. What we do with this time is entirely our choice.
Okay, okay, so most of us have to work to pay our way. But we can still make choices about how we spend this time.
Some time management courses teach techniques which are geared to saving a few minutes here and maybe an hour or two there, but honestly, have you made better use of the time saved? Or have you just crammed in another activity?
There is a well-known story about how to fill a bucket, and to save you time :>) here is the condensed version.
To fill your bucket, first you put in the rocks. Is your bucket full? No, you can fit in some pebbles. Is your bucket full? No, you can fit in some sand. Is your bucket full? No, you can fit in some water.
What is the moral of this tale? That you can always fit more in? No, if you don't put the rocks in first, you'll never get them in....
With this in mind, make a list for yourself. Here's one I prepared earlier for the time management courses I teach.
Rocks - time with family, time with friends, learning new skill, undertaking big project
Pebbles - member of club, volunteering, coaching
Sand - routine chores at work, reading books
Water - housekeeping, watching movies, surfing the internet
Decide how much time should be spent on the "Rocks". Is 50% of your waking hours good enough or would you go so far as 80%? A quick bit of mental arithmetic tells me that's at least 6 hours per day doing stuff that's really important to you! I would say that's effective time management! (I told you it was easy!)
So that leaves a few hours for the Pebbles, Sand and Water. It doesn't matter how you split your time between each of these activities. The most important thing is to recognise that the small stuff can get in the way of the big stuff.
And when the small stuff does get in the way, ask yourself why is that? What can I stop doing or do less of to free up my time?
Early starts and late finishes, rushed or skipped meals, sporadic or non existent social contact all take their toll. It's tempting to steal time from our basic "being human" time but give it back! You will reap the rewards.
Time management can be easy. Fact! You are in control of your time Remember good time management is about knowing what's important and doing that most. And you don't need a fancy diary for that!