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Time management: Time management basics

Why time management?

This guide will not help you find more time. Time is a finite resource, and we can't make a day last 26 hours, however hard we try. What you can do is adjust how you think about, use, and allot your time. This guide works in conjuction with our time managememt training to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses in using your time effectively. You will be encouraged to reconsider some traditional ways of organizing your time and responsibilities. The goal is to use appropriate tools to manage details so that your efforts can be put to higher purpose.


You need a system that can capture 3 things:

  • appointments
  • commitments
  • information

But mostly, you need to manage your ability to focus.

Reading suggestions

Urgent or Important?

Be forgiving with yourself

A few known issues to keep in mind...

  1. There is more to do than time to do it in (and rarely a shortage of good ideas to act upon)
  2. Rely on others, but maintain accountability
  3. Keep sight of the big picture
  4. You interrupt yourself more than anybody else interrupts you

There are lots of names mentioned during Advanced Juggling, when giving credit to those who developed these principles.

Get it off your mind!

Four Ds of time management

  1. Delete
  2. Delegate
  3. Defer
  4. Do

We add a fifth D: Differentiate ("Big Picture" or a detail?)


Some categories of information you might track:

  • Future goals/projects (your bucket list)
  • Current goals/projects (big picture items you're working on, or about to begin)
  • Next Actions / To Do (two or three of the next actionable steps for each current goal/project)
  • Waiting for.. (tasks that have been delegated, outstanding requests/orders, etc.)
  • Frequent communications (make notes for the people you speak to regularly, to reduce the number of interruptions you cause)
  • Recurring tasks (make note of things that happen routinely, if not frequently, and details about the task that may be forgotten)