Una's Blog


43 Time management

graphic-2by Una Hearne.

A lot of time management courses are rubbish because they don’t establish the most important principle before they show you their techniques and tools. Here’s the most important principle:

You need to know what is important to you, what really matters in your life, in order to choose wisely what you spend your time on.

You have a finite amount of time in your life. You don’t know how long you have. You can’t ‘make’ any more time. The power and control you have in this area is in how you choose to use the time you have.

We often think we know what is important to us, and we do, to some extent. However when you set out to define it, it quickly becomes clear that many things are important to us. We probably can’t do everything we would like to do in one lifetime or please everyone we would like to please. We have to prioritise and this is where things get difficult sometimes. We face this kind of prioritising everyday – do you spend this Sunday with your family or do you pursue your passion elsewhere, or do you take a duvet day off and do nothing? No right or wrong, no easy answers.

A really game changing exercise is to figure out your fundamental values in life and create a vision for how you want your life to be. What drives you? What is important to you? What do you really want to do, be and have in this life? What is essential in your life? What are you prepared to let go of wanting to ensure your top priorities flourish? I do this with people all the time in my coaching and training and it is life changing work.

It’s not possible of course to get into any depth in a blog about how to go about figuring your life out but I thought I’d include the exercise below so you can check how you are doing with managing your time. It’s not always a pleasant exercise but it is worthwhile!

Write down your top priorities in order of what is most important to you in your life at the moment. Your best guess is fine for this! You might end up with a list something like this (or nothing like this!):

1  Close relationships

2 Work – earning money / doing the work I love

3 Health – exercise / diet / sleep

4 Leisure – relaxation / social

5 Interests – reading / study

Now, carry a notebook around for a typical week or two in your life and record what you actually spend your time on, divided into half hours or whatever seems reasonable. Now, how does how you spend your time match up with what you say your priorities are? This can be really illuminating.  If you don’t like the answer you always have the choice to change and to spend your time more wisely for yourself.


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