How to Build Your Time Management House

Your time management house should work for you

Before I talk about building your time management house, In yesterday’s article I wrote that my answer to the question, What is Time Management?  would be that time management is taking action: For the right reason (because it is linked to a goal or objective), At the right time (by prioritising) and in the right way (within a system that works for you). It is a behaviour around which skills can be learnt.

The article prompted the following brilliant comment from Elaine Mitchell who is an Empowerment Life Coach, Speaker  and Author based in Sheffield.

“It is the formality of “Time Management” as I don’t like being told what to do let alone telling myself what to do. I need to reframe it so it fits with my free spirited soul and that way I can get to grips with it whilst riding my unicorn across the hilltops”.

For me that comment hits the nail on the head, time management systems need to be as individual as the person using them, I pride myself on helping build systems that suit people, not trying to fit people into systems.

A Basic Truth of Time Management

One size of time management doesn’t fit all. That being said, regardless of the system we use there are some key concepts that we have to learn before we can adapt them to suit ourselves.

Regardless of the type of property you live in, from the outside, it’s very likely to look like others within the area that you live. As a minimum all properties will have a roof, four external walls and a set of foundations on which it’s built. It’s only when you go through the front door and get inside that your property becomes personalised to you. The same is true of time management systems, they all have some basic components that are the same, once we know what they are we can then mould them to suit both our own personality and lifestyle.

Your Time Management House

Your time management house should and must work for you, a great example I see of this all the time is around to-do lists. When anyone asks for advice on time management, they are invariably told to make a list, prioritise it and get started. Great advice if you’re the sort of person that enjoys lists but what if you don’t? You may well make a list and become completely overwhelmed and hence make the situation worse not better. To- do lists don’t work for everyone.

Lay the foundations first

When building your time management house, it needs to be built on two solid foundations:

  1. Understanding your goals and objectives as this will make sure that you’re able to prioritise your actions, so that we you’re always taking action for the right reason.
  2. Understanding your mindset and how it impacts your approach to time management as this will ensure that you build a system that works for you.

Build the walls

Once you have the foundations in place, then and only then can you start thinking about building the walls of your time management house, I call these the four pillars of time management, and they are four areas in which you have to develop a strong skillset. Thy are:

  1. The management of Tasks
  2. The management of Interruptions
  3. The management of Meetings
  4. The management of E-communications

Develop the roof

Once you have the four walls built and they are built on strong foundations you will find that you are then able to support the roof of your time management house. And in the context of time management, the roof of your time management house is your ability to manage both your personal and professional life in a way that enables you to feel fulfilled and guilt free.

Over the coming days we will discuss the two foundations and four pillars of time management in greater depth as I help you to make a start on building your time management house complete with a unicorn stable if required.

In the meantime why not let me know what you think? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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14 thoughts on “How to Build Your Time Management House

  1. Am so with Elaine on this, my inner teenager still rebels when told to write a to-do list, prioritise and do it. Still trying to work out a system that I enjoy as well as do.

  2. I’m particularly terrible at allowing interruptions in the first place, so looking forward to reading more on that.