Make Time For Time: 5. Planning & Managing Time

Planning time takes a while if you’re not used to the process.  No single time-management technique suits all.  You have to feel around for what works best for you.

photo by BURИBLUE

photo by BURИBLUE

Some of us cope with the bare minimum on paper.  Just a few reminders about the coming days will do.

Some of us prefer to plan rigorously to the last minute, as far in advance as possible.

However you plan, if it works for you, it’s the right way to go.

If it’s not working, move on to a different planning technique fast!

There are all sorts of diaries on the market.  Pocket diaries, desk diaries, day to a page, week to a page, appointments diaries, blank format, lined format…the list goes on.  The choice is yours.  It doesn’t take long to work out whether a particular way of managing your time works for you.  Sure, it’s annoying when you’ve tried several different things that all result in a big fat FAIL, but the satisfaction comes further down the line.  Once you find the solution, your plans will click into place and your life will be a lot easier to manage.  The sense of relief at that eureka moment is fantastic.

What if you have nothing planned?  Some of us are lucky enough to have very little to worry about in any given week.  A couple of lectures, a seminar, a meet up, a couple of outings, but nothing you need to work around.  Plenty of free time abounds.

Free time doesn’t equal leisure time.  Free time is time not yet allocated in your schedule.  Free time is positive because it’s more time you can fill up with whatever suits you.  Even if you fill it with leisure activities and hardcore relaxation, the key is to knowingly use the time.

It’s a mistake to randomly use up free time, because it’s a waste.  You don’t automatically know how well you’re using that time.  The time disappears and you can’t even account for what you did in that time.

If you’re lucky enough to have a lot of time on your hands, start by using some of that time to fill gaps in the future.  Even if you choose to play World of Warcraft, sit down the pub on your own, or listen to music in a trance, it doesn’t matter.  Anything goes. So long as you’ve chosen to do that with your time.

The more you’re in touch with the hours available to you each day, the more you’ll fit the most important tasks into those hours. Everything is manageable.  If another important job crops up, you can change your plans without sacrificing free time as if it is ‘leisure time’.  Instead, you’ll have the detail right in front of you, ready to re-jig.  You’ll be sacrificing something, but at least you can put a proper value to it.

Busy isn’t bad.  It just gets a bad name when your time isn’t planned properly.


  1. I’ve never thought about being this efficient. I’ve always done things in a way that allows me to EVENTUALLY get to working on what needs to get done, and using all the time around that as “leisure time.” I can see how this might feel a lot more productive. I’m going to try it. Thanks!

  2. I hope it helps your focus, Brittany. My reasoning behind it is that ‘leisure time’ often means ‘everything else’. That time ends up being less leisurely than if true thought was brought to the word ‘leisure’.

    It’s a bit conceptual, but hopefully I’ve put the point across with enough sense! 🙂

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