Time Management

Earlier this morning, I took a Psychology Today test on time management. Mainly because I was asked yesterday to write a post on the subject. And on enquiry, Google rendered up a self-test that seemed both more useful and more boring than Buzzfeed’s “Which City Should You Live In?”*.

Let’s just ignore the irony of online-test-taking being one of those key procrastination activities that says you’re really bad at managing your time.


According to Psychology Today, I’m 91% effective at managing my time. Which is probably symptomatic of transparent questions like “Do you prioritise tasks in order of importance?”, for which an answer of “Absolutely” is good for your score, but says more about what you think you do (work) rather than what you actually do (take online tests*).
*Recently, I’ve discovered that if I were a Game of Thrones character, I’d be either Tyrion or Cersei Lannister, depending on the time of day and volume of caffeine intake. I’d also be Hermione from Harry Potter. Unless I was a secondary character, in which case: Gilderoy Lockhart.

That said, I do work with a lot of people for whom the words “manage” and “time” should never be used concurrently. They’re always too busy to talk right now, but they’re always behind. Some might say that they’re overworked. And yet, place someone similarly skilled in that position, and it all just seems to happen without fuss.

And I’ve learned a lot from them.

Top Tips For How To Be Busy All The Time

1. Never Say No.

It’s important to please people and to appear capable of everything. Social invites are made to be accepted, work tasks that are assigned cannot be refused. And you know what? It’s impossible to know your limits until you’ve exceeded them.

Besides, even if you only pop into dinner briefly, you’ve showed face. And if your assignment has some errors, it was only a first draft.

Better to try than do nothing at all.

2. If You’re Not At Your Desk, Then You’re Not Productive. 

Those annoying people that talk about “biorhythms” and such are just being lazy. You’re working when you’re at your desk, so stay there for as long as possible.

3. Panic About Deadlines.

When you have a deadline, you must be anxious about it. Because fear keeps you motivated to get it done.

4. Attend To Everything As It Comes Up.

Answer every email, every phone-call and every person at the door. Shout at them for bothering you, of course – but then do anything that they need done straight away. Unless it might take some time, in which case, refer back to point 1 and add it to your to do list.

And by “to do list” I mean a loose piece of paper that you place somewhere important. Like on a pile of other loose papers that you have to attend to. The pile next to that window you’re just about to open to let in some fresh air.

5. Home Time Is Nine O’Clock At The Earliest.

Burn the midnight oil. You, of course, won’t burn out. You’ll just get better with (more) time.

6. Sleep For As Long As Possible. You Need It.

Get out of bed at the last possible moment. After all that midnight oil, you need to squeeze in as much shut-eye as you can.

And if that means that you get caught in unusual traffic occasionally*, or scream out of the house without your lap top, then that’s not your fault. Even though, poor dear, you’ll have to work harder to make up the lost time.
*two to three times a week.

7. Eat At Your Desk.

Breaks are for sissies. And the under-worked.

8. Do The Most Urgent Things First.

If it ain’t urgent, then it ain’t worth doing yet.

9. Get The Big Project Out Of The Way In One Go.

It’s important not to start anything until you know that you can finish it. Because, like, that way, you can focus on it completely without interruptions.

Besides, if I only have 15 minutes to spare, what on earth could I possibly accomplish?

The take-home message – doing the above makes you as productive as the guy that surfs facebook for five hours a day.

And I’d rather be that guy. It seems way less stressful.