The 5 to 9 principle is a key to assist me in understanding how good I am at time management. Do you think you are too busy to time-manage? Or, are you one of those people who says “it never worked for me” or “just not necessary”? Maybe it never worked because you never stuck at it long enough. I am a great supporter of time management. Yet, since I retired I have gone off-track in successfully managing the time available to me during the day. Busy people are great time-managers. As the saying goes “if you want something done, give it to a busy person”! Right now, at my time of life, I have more flexibility with my time. This can be both a positive and a negative, depending on how I use the 24 hours in a day, the 1440 minutes. To re-evaluate my time management I examined what I do with my time between 5 to 9, rather than concentrate what happens between 9 to 5. If you are working in a 9 to 5 job, 5 days a week, then that period of the day is taken care of. Time then to move to the 5 to 9 principle of time management.
What we do between 5 to 9 can make or break our day! At different times of our lives we manage time differently. Take, for example, a mother with a young baby working in an office. I have been there and I was up early and attending to tasks so that I could be sitting at my desk by 9 a.m. Now as a a retiree I don’t have to get up too early unless I have set goals and have planned my day.
It does not matter what planning tool is used to plan our week. It can be as simple as writing key tasks and goals on a calendar or in a diary. I have fallen into the habit of keeping my tasks and goals in my head, with the occasional list, however that is not fully working for me. Even though I have set days for particular tasks there are still hours in the day unaccounted for! My current way of planning my time is not working because I want to achieve more with the time available to me. My One & Only (O&O) and I write appointments/activities on our calendar. This is a good start but it is not the complete answer to managing my time better.
The 5 to 9 principle starts at 5 a.m. Usually, I am still asleep! Should I get up earlier? Not in the winter in Toowoomba. That is when I hibernate! Just like bears, I slow down in the winter. But if I don’t start my day until 7 a.m. I have already lost 2 hours that I could have used. This morning I planned, in my head, to go for an early morning walk today. It happened and my O&O were out walking at 6.30 a.m. If I used the four hours before 9 a.m. I would achieve great things! When I was studying many years ago I got up at 4 a.m. to study. I found that I achieved much more in those early hours between 4 to 7 than I would have later in the day.
When I was conscientiously planning my week I discovered a freedom that I did not have before. Now, since lost! I must get back into strategically planning my week. I say strategically because knowing my intended plans for the week will free up my mind to concentrate on the task at hand. When I don’t do this I am continually thinking about what to do next! When I plan my week I start with working out my priorities for the week. Planning can also mean giving ourselves permission for “down time”. That is, time for self and/or time with our partner/family.
In all my reading about planning over the years I found it does not have to be regimented. If we plan, we make the decisions what we do with our time. As we are the creator our our plan, we can also change and modify our daily/ weekly plan. If I concentrate on the 5 to 9 period x 2 in my day it gives me a window into how good I am using my time. Most days at 5 p.m. I start dinner preparation. I could also use this time to go for a walk. The weather has worked against me getting out and walking. We have had a heat-wave and at 5 p.m. or even 6 p.m. it has been too hot to walk. It makes sense then to go walking at 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. The 6 a.m. sounds like a more sensibly time to me. If it is my aim to maximise my time between 5 to 9 am in the morning then by the time it is 9 in the evening I should be thinking about going to bed! The favourite television show will have to be recorded and watched at another time. That is, if I am serious about managing my time and not lapsing into a time waster!
The best way to manage my time is simple enough. I first identify my priorities and block this time out. The next step is to write a list of activities/tasks I want to achieve in the week. Then it is time to work out what day/time these will be scheduled. It is March already and time is marching on. I best plan so that the time I have does not just slip away. If I plan and schedule tasks/activities I will be more on track to reflect on my week and congratulate myself on my achievements. What about you? Do you plan your day/week? What works for you that might also work for me? Do you believe in the idiom “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”?