Time is a fascinating subject. As we grow older, we want more of it. If we could just turn back time or at least pause it for a while. Time is fair. Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day. How you spend your time defines you as an employee, as a manager, as a leader, as a person. Nobody controls time, but you can manage how you spend it.
Managing your schedule requires balance of tasks and decision-making skills. What’s important to you may not be important to someone else. No one can work 24 hours in a day, every day. No one can sleep 24 hours a day, every day. Balance is the key to a happy work life and personal life.
Here’s what you can do if you wish to manage your time effectively. Draw a list of all the tasks that you need and want to accomplish today. Categorize your tasks and break down your schedule with segments of strong to weak obligation modals:
- MUST do today (it’s your responsibility, like priorities at work and the essentials at home, e.g. meals, sleep, taking care of children, etc.)
- SHOULD do today (important, but can be done another day)
- WANT to do today (the fun stuff)
Start by placing all your must-do tasks in your agenda, then add your should-do tasks, followed by want-to do tasks. Keep track of all your daily activities.
How much time you set each segment is up to you. However, if you work seven hours a day, you will have more MUST and SHOULD segments than WANT segments. Don’t forget to give yourself more WANT segments during your days off. This will help with your mental health.
After a few days, analyze your time log. Do you see patterns, habits, results? Can you improve your task management? Are you satisfied with your segments?
There are many apps and tools you can use to plan your days and track your tasks. It doesn’t really matter which method you use, as long as it works for you. And don’t forget to make time for you because there’s no better time than the present. As cliché as it may be, this expression rings true.