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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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« What Are Today's Interesting Finds? - v2 | Are You Ready Enough? »

What Do You Do With Your Time?

“I am definitely going to take a course in time management . . . just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.”

- Louis E. Boone  







We receive a gift each day with 1,440 minutes (aka 24 hours).

  • What do you do with your time?
  • Do you have enough time to work, play and relax?
  • Do you desire more time with friends, family or self?
  • Do you wish your time were more focused?
  • Do you feel like your time is being wasted?
  • Do you find it challenging to manage your time?


There are many ways to manage our time. One possibility is to organize using time blocks or containers. Time has a daily repeating pattern. Within that pattern we need time to work, play, and restore. We each desire a different combination of the amount of time needed, along with how we define our various areas of priorities.


Set aside time to define your priorities. Think about:

  • What’s most important to you?
  • What are the different areas of life or “containers” that your time will get organized into?
  • Which containers will be larger?
  • Which will be smaller?
  • What combination of containers is right for you?


Once your priorities are clear: 

  • Choose your container sizes.
  • Choose how to fill them.
  • Arrange them in ways that best align with your priorities.


What if you introduced color-coding for your containers or time blocks to enhance visual understanding of where your time is going?

Color isn’t useful for everyone, but if you’re a visual processor like I am, it can work well. For my time blocks, I use purple for business, turquoise for personal, green for professional associations, and pink for kids. Within a given week, at a glance I can see what my time looks like with the big color blocks or containers and whether I’m in alignment with my priorities.

What do you do with your time? How do you organize it? I’d love to learn what works and doesn’t work for you? Come join the conversation.

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Reader Comments (16)

What a fun post, Linda!

I love the reminder that time is a gift! As for the quote . . . it says it all:-)

There's so much written about our relationship with time and still, we seem to get stuck in a power trip. So often we come from a place of scarcity . . . we never seem to have enough time.
I like to believe we have all the time we need, to accomplish what we need to accomplish. As you say, our approach doesn't have to be ground breaking, just plain common sense.

1) Ask questions and get to the bottom of what you want
2) Define priorities
3) Invest time wisely and according to what's important, and
4) Do it with style.

I like using different colors for my time blocks too:-) A touch of color makes everything a lot easier and more pleasing to work with.
Thank you!

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterYota Schneider

Love these reminders about time awareness and scheduling. It offers a new perspective of time as an amount, visualized by containers, including color as a way to differentiate. It is often these new perspectives that help my ADHD clients gain insight into their own time management.

For me I write blocks into my paper planner to show different time slots. I have rectangles for clients and circles for tasks. It helps me "see" actions easily!

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

This is a wonderful post, Linda. I loved reading these reminders about time. It's interesting to me that we sometimes use financial terms to define our use of time - spending time, wasting time, estimating time. I think it's difficult for some people to estimate the amount of time tasks and chores will take. I advocate the use of the time timer. Set the timer and do as much as you can in the allotted time. This works really well and my clients often get more done than they anticipated!

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

As always, enjoying your perspective about various topics. In this occasion about time. Very often we forget that time is in itself infinite, but for everyone of us is a finite matter. We've got just the time we live and we need to spend it well in what matters the most. We could manage the things we need to get done around time, but we can not manage the time itself.

It's very common hear the phrase invest well your time and save it. That always reminds me Momo a novel by Michael Ende where gray suited guys convince a town to save time in the Bank of Time vaults so people stop wasting time chit-chatting, napping or doing things at a good pace; they speed up their activities in order to save more time, supposedly to use that saved time later, but later never came. Why is that? because time doesn't grow, doesn't reproduce, doesn't pay interest or benefits, it just pass by.

What do I do to manage my chores, tasks and work? I take just the things I could manage in one day, use the calendar and reminder apps in my Smartphone. I separate those activities in color coded calendars, that way I know what area they belong to (blogging, organization jobs, office work, exercise, education, chores, etc.) But even if something isn't get done I don't freak out. Life is to short to freak out for not getting the laundry done. That's the idea behind just taking enough tasks in one day, avoiding the possibility for something get behind schedule. Chores, tasks and work never end, even when we use hours and hours, they never ever end. Priorities in life should be our guide, give quality time to them not only quantity.

Thank you for your post.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

I generally put labels next to my various tasks. "E" for errands, "I" for stuffI need to do online, "C" for calls I need to make, etc. I find this helpful in grouping like tasks to get the best use of my time. Interruptions and "the unexpected" are the most intrusive into my time, so having some white space each day gives me a chance to make up for unexpected scheduling shifts.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

As wives and mothers I always hear that women never have enough time for themselves. I have always made time for myself, even if it is just an hour to read, exercise, or relax, and I refuse to feel guilty about it. We are just as important as anyone else in our lives.
We need "our time" to take on all our tasks and responsibilities and to feel refreshed and not resentful.
Making time for your self should be on your "time" list.

June 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

How wonderful to "hear" all of your voices and the great additions to the conversation!

@Yota- Still glowing from our visit yesterday. Such a treat… a true time gift. Thank you for the gentle reminder that "we have all the time we need, to accomplish what we need to accomplish." Just reframing things in that way encourages us to focus on our priorities.

@Ellen- Rectangles and circles! What a unique way for visualizing how your time is being allocated. Love it!

@Diane- I hadn't thought about the financial reference to defining our "time terms." Interesting observation. I'm with you 100% with the use of timers. Aside from helping with defining blocks of time, they also help with focus. Using a timer lets me completely immerse myself into a project without losing track of time because I know the buzzer will cue me when it's time to shift gears.

@Nacho- "Momo" sounds like an interesting book and commentary about time. I appreciate your calm perspective about not "freaking out" if something doesn't get done. Instead, think about what's most important. As you said, let our priorities guide and focus us.

@Seana- Thanks for sharing another great visual cue for helping to organize our tasks. Ellen talked about rectangles and circles, you've got special letters, both Nacho and me use color coding. So many creative ways to "see" what we're doing.

@Jill- You've shared such a life essential here…making time for yourself, even if "just an hour," without the guilt. When we expend energy giving and doing, we also need to rejuvenate. If we don't, we become resentful, exhausted, unproductive, and stressed.

June 10, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I really like the concept of putting time into containers. It's very easy to make changes to our calendars, whether paper or electronic, but we'd never dream of putting flour in the sugar bowl or a sweater in the underwear drawer! So, if Friday afternoon is for writing blog posts, I can't put a shopping trip in there! I can rearrange my containers, but they still need to be distinctly separate.

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Nice discussion Linda.
Before I could make the most of time I had to better understand time. As an adult with ADHD my sense of time has been a work in progress. Not long ago large swaths of time would pass without my knowledge. Only when I boosted my time awareness or 'TQ" did I shift my concept of time. I learned that it is not the enemy, something to chase or manage and that its value only changes the closer I get to a deadline. Now I respect time for what it is - an asset that I use or not use.
So a question to add - "How do you view time?"

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCameron Gott

Cameron, your question reminds me of a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator workshop exercise where participants are asked to describe time. Those who prefer Sensing typically view time as something measurable, whereas those who prefer Intuition view it as infinite. It's really fascinating - and one of the things that originally attracted me to the organizing profession!

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Nice link to Myers-Briggs. Another favorite of mine isOpen Book Learning's Cognitive Preference Survey. Measures how we process information and build knowledge. Like 'handedness' it measures base cognitive preferences. 'Dominant sequential' processors understand time usually better than 'dominant associative' processors. Can you guess which one I am?
More here

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCameron Gott

Cameron - it sounds like "Sequential" corresponds to "Sensing" and "Associative" to "Intuition" so I would have to guess you are Dominant Associative.

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Sorry Janet.
I was a bit cryptic. I imagine you could make that connection. I hesitated to do so since MB is all about personality and Open Book is all about the underlying cognitive preferences.
And yes I am 'Dominant Associative' but this still means I can access the sequential. It's just not my default.

June 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCameron Gott

Love the conversation going on! Juicy stuff around how we view time. Thank you for offering up all your wonderful ideas.

@Janet- Glad that the "containers" idea resonated with you…rearranging the containers, but not commingling them. Maybe that is like single vs. multitasking? Thank you for making the Myers-Briggs connection with personality styles and perceptions of time. Interesting stuff!

@Cam- Great question…"How do you view time?" You have a wonderful way getting to the essence of things with a simple question. I love how you mention the challenges around time especially because of being an adult with ADHD, about gaining time awareness (TQ), and that you no longer view time as the enemy. Thanks for the link to Open Book Learning.

To respond to your question…how do I view time?… I see time as a constant, a ticking, a heartbeat that keeps going. Like music, there are beats and rests. The constant, allows us the opportunity to create music within a structure, filled with loud and soft notes, places to rest, breaks, repeats, and do-overs. It's the base that keeps on going. As with playing music, we experiment, practice, and shift emphasis as needed. Time gives me the ongoing beat to integrate my notes and pauses. There's a structure which allows for change and flexibility.

June 11, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I don't know what I would do without my shared google calendar! My assistants are able to access my schedule, and it is a free and easy tool that I use on my iPhone.

@Jill Robson, I totally agree! Making time for yourself is very important. I pre-schedule a massage every two weeks just to ensure I take good care of my body.
As a busy working mom I am often feeling like there are not enough hours in the day. It is oh so important! to take care of myself in order to renew strength and energy.

June 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRachel Seavey

@Rachel- Great tip about google calendar. It sounds like an effective way to communicate with multiple people. And wow on the massage every two weeks! Bravo to you. Making self care a priority and committing to it in advance is inspiring. Hoping that others will take your cue and follow along.

June 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

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