“Time is what we want the most, but what we use worst”, and when it comes to living our busy lives, it’s often hard to know how to manage your time through life. None of us can predict how our future lives will unfold, and many of us face different challenges at certain life stages.
So, how can you manage your days better? How can you create more quality time and plan those activities or goals you’ve always dreamt of doing? Let’s take a look at some tips on how to manage your time through life.
How to manage your time through life
“The trouble is, you think you have time.” Jack Kornfield, Buddha’s Little Instruction Book (1994)
Most of us think that we have more time. But the reality is that the weeks, months and years fly by, and before we know it, we are middle-aged, and the children have flown the nest. So, before you start counting down the days, take some time to reflect on what you want to do.
As part of our planning, our financial advisers take you through the three questions from the father of life planning, George Kinder:
- How would you design your life? If money was no object and you were financially secure, think about what you would do and how you would live your life. Describe your dream life in detail.
- What if you had less time? If you were only given 5 – 10 years to live, and you would not be impaired by sickness during that time, think about what you would try to achieve in those years.
- What if today’s the day? If you were given the news that you only had 24 hours to live, think about what you would miss, who you would miss, and what you didn’t get the chance to do in your life.
The questions are tough and designed to get you thinking in a way you might not normally feel comfortable doing. If you’re far from living your dream life, you might feel frustrated or sad. Every day, we make choices based on our emotions, from how we spend our time, what we choose to buy, and who we spend our money on. Money is emotional. But once you recognise what you want from life, you can start working towards realising your life goals. And then, you can create a plan listing what you want to do.
“The only thing that is constant is change.” Heraclitus, Greek philosopher
Life is ever-changing. So, learning how to manage your time through life will help you at any age. But, first, you need to audit your time; this will enable you to spend more hours with the people that matter to you the most. And it will give you more time to plan and do the activities you enjoy.
The Eisenhower Matrix is a useful way to decide how to spend your time effectively. Inspired by President Eisenhower’s organisational skills, this decision-making tool was popularised by Stephen Covey in his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. You can use this in your work and personal life to help create that balance we all strive for.
Draw a box and divide this into four squares. Label each quadrant as follows:
Quadrant 1: DO – Important and urgent, Quadrant 2: SCHEDULE – Important but not urgent, Quadrant 3: DELEGATE – Urgent but not important, and Quadrant 4: DELETE – Not important, not urgent.
Assign your tasks to the relevant quadrant. Those time-sensitive tasks that must be done go into the first one. Use the second quadrant for important tasks, but there isn’t a set deadline. In the third quadrant, add tasks that can be completed by someone else. And in the fourth one, get rid of any tasks that are distracting you or aren’t adding value to your life. Once you’ve completed this audit, you can better manage your time.
The impact of time on financial planning
As we struggle to juggle our time and get caught up in everyday life, it leaves less room for making financial decisions, and they can often fall down the pecking order. A recent study from Scottish Widows found that 6.4 million people in the UK say they don’t have the time to do important life admin, and 4 million don’t have enough mental space to tackle difficult decisions. A large proportion also admitted to financial procrastination, with just under half (47%) never thinking about changing their pension and 51% putting off deciding on critical illness cover.
“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” Theophrastus, Greek philosopher
Time cannot be stopped or reversed. So, learning how to manage your time is vital if you want a fulfilled lifestyle. There are plenty of apps that can help you manage your daily work and personal life. Popular project and time management apps include Google Keep, Asana and Trello. The more organised you are, the more you will be able to achieve in your life.
And once you’ve taken control of your time and you’ve mapped out your dreams and desires, speak to our professional financial planning team. We can help you make the most of your lifestyle and future by creating a sound financial plan that helps you to realise your life goals.
If you would like a financial plan to help you make the most of your time, get in touch with our independent financial planners.
Jack Kornfield, Buddha’s Little Instruction Book (1994)
Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989)