Do you always feel your running from one task to another? Do you find yourself sitting in traffic, stressed out because you are going to be late for yoga again? It seems that modern life has brought with it a pace of life that we can barely cope with as we try to pack more and more into a small space of time. Of course we can all find reasons for this lack of time; the kids have scouts or football or dancing (or more likely all three) or we have jobs with long hours that limit our family and leisure time.

In the end we feel stressed, frustrated and somehow that we are not having a good life so usually we decide to add something else. But still we never seem to get it all done and we are always running late. So what can you do how can you learn to manage your life better. Perhaps you need some time management.

It’s likely that you have two sorts of tasks in your life: those you have to do and those you would like to do. The definition of have to and like to only you can decide on for only you know how your family and life work.

  • You need to decide how important the tasks are.
  • You need to know the time that is available to you.
  • Finally (and more importantly) you need to be able to say no. No to things that are not going to fit with your schedule. No to the things that will make you rushed and stressed.

There are two things you need to start. You need to know what you need to do by when and how important it is to you. Second you need to know what time you have available to you to complete your tasks.

A monk set a puzzle for his student. He took a large jar and filled it with large rocks. He asked, is the jar full? The student said yes for there was no more space for large rocks in the jar. So the wise man took out some small rocks and filled the spaces between the large rocks with the smaller rocks. Is the jar full now? The student was now less sure, said he thought so. The wise man took out some pebbles and again filled the spaces. Is the jar full? The student this time could only say that the jar looked full. The wise man brought out sand and filled the jar to the brim.  This time the student felt sure that the jar was full, till the wise man brought out a pitcher of water and poured it into the jar. The master asked, What have you learned? That there is always more space, said the student. No, cautioned the master, the answer is that if you do not put the large rocks in first there will be no room for them later on.

In our case the large rocks equate to the high priority tasks the tasks that must be done. But even as you put them in question whether you need to do them, could someone else do them? Do you have a partner or family that can share the load?

The simpler smaller tasks go in next and we always leave around 10% of the time for unexpected emergencies and if it turns out you don’t need them you can fit in those low priority tasks that didn’t find a place elsewhere. Or you could make yourself a cup of tea and relax, congratulating yourself for your hard work.

Of course occasionally the schedule is going to go wrong of course sometimes an emergency occurs or you get stuck in traffic, but you can shuffle your tasks more easily if you can use this system because you have identified the lower priority tasks you can move to keep on track with the big problems.

There will be asks that have no place, and assuming that you should be doing them and not saying no, find space for them in the future, as they are left undone their priority will rise.

Finally this sounds like another task – decide all these priorities, work out a schedule. I am suggesting nothing as grand. Your gut reaction on the most important tasks will be good enough. Your family calendar on the fridge will let you plan a week ahead. Have a rule if it’s not on the calendar it doesn’t happen.

Following these simple steps Tempus fugitshould allow you to regain control over your time and begin to introduce space that you can truly call your own and do the things that are important to you.