You can’t manage time…

…it marches on inexorably. You can only manage your tasks within the time you have available.

What you need to do is prioritise your tasks using the matrix below.


Not Urgent


  • Crises
  • Deadlines
  • Important meetings
  • Planning
  • Recreation
  • Formulating strategies
  • Planning
  • Formulating strategies
  • Recreation

Not Important

Deceptively urgent:

  • Interruptions
  • E-mails
  • Some projects



  • Surfing the web
  • Gossiping
  • Coffee breaks
  • Non-business activities


These are things you just have to do. Don’t waste time, or get yourself into trouble by procrastinating.

Important/Not Urgent

These are things you have to force yourself to make time to do. Start with formulating strategies and then draw up plans to implement the way forward. Recreation is important. Plan to take a day or two off and go away for a long weekend.

Urgent/Not Important

These are things like allowing people to interrupt you with their problems – don’t let them put their ‘monkey’ on your back.

Not Important/Not Urgent

These are the real time-wasters. It’s time to get real. If you spend too much time on this sooner or later you’ll get fired.

Once you have prioritised your tasks using the matrix above as a guide you need to cultivate certain habits.

  1. At the end of each working day prepare a list of your tasks for the next day, estimate the time that will be required for each task and allocate the time in your diary. This is not a to-do list but a plan. This will clear your mind before you go home. It will also make you feel in charge.
  2. Start early. Have a good high-protein/low-carb breakfast. And don’t listen to the morons on the morning-drive shows – get a book on a CD and listen to it.  An hour spent in the office before others get there will allow you to be more productive than when people arrive to start bugging you. Of course this will mean going to bed earlier but ask yourself, what value TV is adding to your life.
  3. You’ll also have to improve your organisational skills. Can you find everything when you need it? This applies to paper documents and computer files. Have a system, not a pile on your desk and make use of folders on your computer.
  4. Get to know which time of the day is your most productive for different tasks and diarise to carry out tasks accordingly.

It is important that you value your time, both at work and at home.

Good luck.

Some food for thought:

  • The common man is not concerned about the passage of time, the man of talent is driven by it.- Shoppenhauer
  • Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.- Charles Richards
  • The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.- Stephen R. Covey
  • Ordinary people think merely of spending time. Great people think of using it.-Author unknown
  • A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life.- Charles Darwin
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One Response to You can’t manage time…

  1. Pingback: Workaholic? You’ll crash and burn… | Mel Brooks – Thoughts on Business, Management & Leadership

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