You Can’t Manage Time

But you can manage you.

When I hear people talk about time management, I want to flip their thinking a bit.  Rather than thinking in terms of managing time, I encourage you to think about managing activities as they relate to time.

Splitting hairs? Perhaps. But it can make a huge difference when you realize it’s activity management that results in…well, results!timemanage

It’s not that you’re managing the minutes in your day. It’s that you’re managing what you’re doing during those minutes.

It’s what I prefer to call “important stuff first” management, or managing priorities.

Here’s an example:

In a typical time management scenario, you might block off chunks of time, often leaving little opportunity for variances or “the unexpected”.

I often see calendars chock a block full of back to back appointments and the like, where the focus is on slotting a time period as the priority.

I suggest that, rather than slotting time periods as first priority, schedule priorities as first priority.

Have you ever been in a meeting with someone who’s actually not “present”, because all they’re thinking about is the next meeting they need to get to? They’ve scheduled their time to run frantically from one thing to the next.

Compare that to the meeting with someone who’s left a buffer of time between meetings, because YOU are a priority. If the meeting with YOU goes a little longer, or you decide to grab a cup of coffee, there’s time for that. Because the person scheduled the meeting with YOU as a priority: not a time block.

Now you might say potaytoe, potatoh…you’re really talking the same thing Kaarina! Whether I block off a period of time, or I identify a meeting as a priority, it all comes out the same.

I beg to differ, because I’ve seen the difference in people’s health, attitude, productivity and profitability when they start thinking in terms of priorities over time slots.

The dictionary definition of time management is:  the analysis of how working hours are spent and the prioritization of tasks in order to maximize personal efficiency in the workplace.

That definition works just fine if and when someone does indeed prioritize not just tasks, but people and unanticipated variables as well. We humans are unpredictable creatures. Traffic is an unpredictable variable. Interruptions are an unpredictable variable.

What’s my point here?

Simply this. For one week, do a paradigm shift. Instead of prioritizing your schedule, schedule your priorities. Create space…sufficient space…to accomplish your most important tasks, spend time doing the most important things and gifting people in your life with your full attention, by not cramming too much into too little time and space.

Life isn’t about a bunch of time blocks. It’s about experiences. It’s about results. And since you can’t make time: there are only 24 hours in each day. And you can’t find time: it’s not hiding under a rock. You’ve got to take time to be in the moment, and fully experience each moment. Just something to think about.


This post is republished with permission from Kaarina Dillabough

Kaarina Dillabough

Kaarina Dillabough

Business Life Coach at Decide2Do
Kaarina is a business/life coach living in Ontario. For over 25 years her high-voltage energy, expertise and experience has inspired those she has worked with to reach beyond their grasp, to attain great things in business and in life. A former Olympic sports colour commentator and coach, Kaarina parlayed her coaching skills from the gym floor to the boardroom, working with business owners to improve their profitability and prosperity. In doing so, she has seen people grow both personally and professionally. Kaarina is known as an inspiring motivational speaker in areas such as branding, marketing, business growth strategies, and personal growth and prosperity. She is a passionate, seasoned coach and accountability partner with a proven track record, who loves nothing more than helping people achieve their goals in business and in life.
Kaarina Dillabough
Kaarina Dillabough




  • November 27, 2013


    This is right on!

  • November 29, 2013


    Simply perfect. 
    Now, go do it!! I totally get this… I love it when someone puts into words (words are so important) exactly the feeling and desire that I can feel. For the last few weeks- this exact thing keeps happening – determined to stay on schedule- things are being forgotten, shuffled and not added (a lot of them are personal add-ons that mean more than just “a lot”- they mean relationships)- forgotten, because of the “next” thing scheduled.
    Thanks for this and finding the right words, Kaarina.

  • December 17, 2013


    Schedule allow us to understand and plan our use of time. Timeliness should be made a priority for everything. Its time to take some steps to improve our time management skills. For efficient time management, I would recommend to use Replicon Software ( ).
    When I came to know about this application, I just tried it. To my surprise this software could handle a lot more tasks than just time tracking and it has made many of the difficult tasks very easy.