If you’re reading this blog, then we know that you read plenty of other self-development blogs. And if you regularly consume this type of content from other blogs, you’ve probably noticed that time management is a topic that a lot of people write about. But if you’re here to learn some MORE time management principles that can help you make the most out of your days….

You’re out of luck.

Because we won’t be giving you any time management tips here, and the reason is simple. As Joel Barker wrote in Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future, there’s no such thing as time management. You can’t manage time at all. You can only manage activity.

That being said, the key to success when it comes to managing how much you get done in a predetermined amount of time is not to decide how many minutes to accord to a task or goal, but to choose which tasks or goals are worth doing in a day. Here are three steps you can take to better manage which activities you need to get done.


The first thing you should do is take a sheet of paper (or open a document on your computer) and list all of the tasks you need to get done. Then, create a Time Management Matrix. The matrix will help separate tasks according to urgency and importance, creating four quadrants: urgent, not urgent, important, and not important. Once the matrix is set up, start spreading out the activities that are on your to-do list into the appropriate quadrants.


Once the matrix is complete, take a look at which tasks are in the urgent and important quadrants. These are the ones you should invest your time into first. Then, take a serious look at what you think you should be doing and what you need to be doing. If any tasks fall within the not urgent & not important quadrants, these should be delegated to someone else, or at least deferred until you have more time.

As for the tasks that are in the not urgent but important quadrants, see if there is anyone that can help you push that task forward. If you don’t have anyone who can help, then outsource this task as well. Now that you have the important activities you need to focus on, here’s how you can plan to get these things done.


Once you’ve established which tasks you need to get cracking with, it’s time to take a closer look at the activities you have designated as high priority. The time boxing strategy will help you establish when you’ll get tasks done and how much of your day should be invested in that task. The way to do this is quite simple:

  1. Open your calendar

  2. Create an event and label it as an activity you need to complete

  3. Establish how much time this activity should take

  4. Schedule these activities in your calendar

And voilà! The activities you need to complete now have an amount of time associated with them. Plus, with a definitive start and end time on your schedule for those tasks, you are more likely to get these things done and avoid procrastinating.

As we said at the beginning, simply trying to work more quickly is not the way to go if you want to accomplish big lofty goals.  The reality is that you must learn how to manage activity first to be strategic because at the end of the day it’s not what you do with your time but how you use your time.