#38 How Do I Allocate My Time?
#38 How Do I Allocate My Time?

Whether we realise it or not we are continually allocating our time to one activity rather than another. This happens all day every day. And yet, are we aware of the decision-making process?

For example, how will you decide what exactly to do today? Or even next?

More specifically, how did you decide to read this?

As Henry David Thoreau mused:

“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”

This question is continually on my mind. I have a vision that underpins everything I do. This is not only a vision for the future but equally encompasses how I want to live each day – what is important to me and how I broadly want to allocate my time.

This allows me to build out a plan for the day around blocks of time that will allow me to attend to what is truly important now in each area of my life. I even know how my day will flow in theory. Then the world intervenes and tries to distract me and therein lies the challenge (for me at least).

I try to minimise distractions and yet, just now as I was writing the above sentence, I got a message on LinkedIn and saw the flashing notification in an open tab. That suddenly became my priority. It is about the only notification I have turned on but there are obviously a whole series of other ways the world endeavours to intrude.

That is its job. Mine is to stay focused on what is essential for me. Remember, although many of these decisions can seem small and insignificant, collectively they shape our lives, careers, relationships and general satisfaction.

Ultimately this boils down to acceptance and awareness.

Firstly, whatever you are doing has become your priority. You may not want it to be and yet our bandwidth is limited so if you are doing something you are not doing everything else. Right now, this question has become your priority. Acceptance is key because it means taking responsibility and then being empowered to respond differently.

Secondly, we need to be constantly aware that we are making choices. The more we become aware the more power we have in the moment to stay on track and tune out the distractions. Also, please go easy on yourself – it is a constant learning process!

So, let me leave you with a question:

“What do I want my priority to be today?”

Questions in the Image:

  • How do I allocate my time?
  • For example, how did I decide to read this now?
  • How did this become my priority?

Want to Explore More Around This Topic?

Episode 15 How do I Allocate Time? (Part I) and Episode 16 How do I Allocate Time? (Part II) of my Time Academy Podcast explore this theme in more depth. The key message is that we do allocate our time. It may be something we do by default, but we are making that decision each and every moment. The question really is “How do we decide what gets done in any moment?

Nurturing Curiosity – Daily Practice: This is part of the Nurturing Curiosity series of tools, insights and questions designed to help nurture curiosity as part of our daily practice. In point of fact, every interaction we have is an opportunity to question what we are observing and how we and others are seeing the world. Also remember that questions come in many forms throughout our day. This moment-by-moment decision-making process truly fascinates me. We can make a plan for the day and even follow through on it and yet there will likely be a whole series of moments (tens if not hundreds) where we decide to do something different – search the web in response to some random question, respond to messages from others, arrange calls. Some are clearly important and yet many are not. In truth, however, many days many of us are being led by other people’s priorities rather than our own. How then do you distinguish between what is important to you and urgent for others?

About Tom O’Leary

I coach, mentor and teach leaders who are shaping a brighter future.

Leadership can be lonely, the challenges daunting, and the workload overwhelming. I help leaders feel heard, gain clarity, take action, build confidence and thrive! Leaders matter. Their work matters. We need them at their best!

The first step? Becoming more curious. I see curiosity as the key, allowing us to unlock deep insights that directly enhance our ability to think, act and lead.

This means spending time contemplating what might be possible so that when we take action, we can bring all our energy and power to bear.

How Might Tom Help?

  1. My first invitation is to take maximum advantage of the free content on this site, including signing up for my newsletter.

  2. As you are reading this, you are clearly on a fascinating journey. If you feel you would benefit from us doing some work together on some aspect of your journey, please explore this page: Thriving Together!
  3. I also endeavour to answer every email so if you have any queries do reach out.