Crediting your time with its real value is an effective time management skill. Recognize that time is more valuable than your treasures, and treat it that way. Time can never be recovered, or replaced. Just like running out of money, running out of time is stressful and worrisome. There are ways you can get more money if you just put your thinking cap on. There aren’t ways to get more time, only ways to better use and control the use of your time.

Your checkbook register and your calendar are similar tools. Your checkbook register helps you to keep a running tally for how you spend your money. For many of you your calendar is a running tally for how you have spent your time. I want to challenge you to take it from a tool you use to track how you “have” spent your time, to a tool you use to plan how you “will” spend your time. You do this by blocking out all the fixed appointments in your calendar for the week first.

Almost everyone is good about recording their business or professional appointments, but what about everything else. If you want to effectively manage your time you have to take a look at the whole picture. Block out the eight hours you need for sleeping. Block out all your appointments that you need to honor during your work day or productive time. You also need to block out appointments with yourself for the personal things in your life. Things like playing with the kids, going out with friends, seeing a movie, going to the gym, or time for the groups that support your beliefs and values. When you block your time for your physical requirement for sleep, the time you need for productivity, and the time you need for personal enjoyment you are including balance in your life. Balance is very important because you live your life for the long-haul.

Expect the unexpected. An effective time management skill is the realization that you don’t want to block your time so closely that you don’t have room for the unexpected. You know that you can expect the unexpected to challenge your use of your time. One way to become more proficient at blocking your time is to realize how much time the things you regularly have to do really take. Take something as simple as checking your email. Just this morning I spent 40 minutes checking, sorting, and responding to my email. Because I know this is typical I only check my email twice a day. That way I’m not losing 10-15 minutes here and there throughout the day as I am trying to focus on my productive activities. After you’ve scheduled all your appointments for the things you have to do, and the things that would make your day productive, make sure there is some white space left over where you can insert time allocations for the unexpected.

You may allow your checking account to go overdraft on occasion, but you can’t do that with your time. If your checking account has an overdraft you get the money, and pay a penalty, and move on. When your time bank goes empty there isn’t anywhere to go to get more time. You can avoid allowing your time account to go overdraft through effective time management where you use time blocking to control your time so it serves you and reduces your stress.

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