I was recently asked this question and here is my answer:

The best example of time management is surely “no time management”.

I know this may sound idealistic particularly if you are in a demanding job or life circumstances but let me explain. There were certainly times in my life – very young children and sick and dying parent – where I was simply over-committed.

And yet, even then, I benefitted from always keeping this question in mind: Who or what has power over my time?

This allowed me, in any case, to prioritise:

I need to put food on the table.

I need to take care of my mother.

I want to spend some quality time with the kids and with my wife.

I want to meet up with friends and extended family.

I want to keep learning and nurture my curiosity.

Those were my key commitments. Within this context, everything else was a distraction so got cut (TV, radio, news….). Once my mum passed and as the kids have gotten older, my commitments have significantly shrunk, meaning that I no longer need to manage time. The temptation, particularly in a busy culture, is to “get more done” but I keep going back to my priorities, which have now become a hierarchy.

Work is priority in certain hours. Outside of that it is family and friends. Then it is learning.

My activities are therefore planned based on priorities, rather than being squeezed into an arbitrary schedule. This means having moments for what truly matters. This means doing less and doesn’t mean cramming every moment with tasks just to feel productive.

As I mentioned above, I do appreciate that this may seem out of reach for some people reading. And yet, we all have some level of power over what we do during our day.

In conclusion, my invitation is to keep these questions with you:

What might I not do today?

What moments of rest and relaxation might I find today?