Managing Yourself in Time

One of my mentors, Bill Truby, taught me the following: “We don’t need to learn time management because we simply can’t manage time.”  He said, “The reality is that there are 24 hours in a day. But what we can manage is ourselves in time.”

I’m all for personal empowerment. Take charge of your life, do what you intend and achieve your highest potential. Learning to manage “ourselves in time” is essential for busy people like mamapreneurs!

The first step is knowing our priorities. I like to say, “success is living in alignment with our values.” So, what matters most to you? Typical answers include family, health, spiritual connection, financial freedom, career, friends, a cause you believe in, learning, adventure, fun and so on.

Identify your top six personal values. I advise you to write them down in order of importance and post this list on your desk, on your phone, on a mirror or anywhere that you’ll be reminded of how you define success. Then we are challenged to organize our life around what matters most to us. This takes balance, planning and careful discernment. It also requires a realistic view of our time, capacities and all the commitments in our life.

Here are two solid ideas to support you as you begin to manage yourself in time: learn to say no and understand the power of planning ahead.

Do what is yours and nothing more. One quick tip, if you are uncomfortable saying no and possibly disappointing people, postpone your declination. Try saying, “thanks for asking and thinking of me. Let me consult my calendar (or family, or assistant) and get back with you in the next 24 hours.” This gives you space to consider the request. When you reply later, if your answer is a no, sandwich this between positive statements such as “I’m impressed with your cause, business, etc.” or “I wanted to but…” or “Thank you again…”  And when you dissent, don’t apologize.

Understand the power of planning ahead. Schedule the activities you must complete! I am not a proponent of the simple To Do list. I am an advocate of taking your tasks and putting them in a calendar. The benefits of scheduling your tasks are many, including realistic planning and setting clear boundaries. You’ll soon learn what is realistic to get done in a day.

  • Place activities in blocks that accurately reflect the amount of time needed to accomplish the task. Give yourself more time than you think you’ll need.
  • You can be flexible. If you miss or don’t finish an activity, schedule it for a future date/time.
  • Digital calendars allow you to color code activities (fitness, family, work, etc.) for better work/life balance.
  • Block out time for things like travel time, cleaning, checking emails, errands and administrative tasks.  Don’t expect to “fit them in;” schedule them in.
  • Assign recurring activities for ease and to affect the power of routines.
  • Block out time for non-interrupted work projects.
  • Keep dates with yourself for self-care and time with friends, for renewal.
  • Leave space for the unexpected. Do not fill every minute.  
Joy Taylor
About Joy Taylor

Joy Taylor is the Director of the Women’s Business Center at JEDI. Her mission is to inspire and empower groups and individuals to purposeful success. With a background in wellness, training and marketing, she enjoys her work as an instructor, speaker and program development specialist.

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