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Time Management How to Create a Dynamic Time Map

Time management is the art of channeling your energies where they will reward you the most. Nothing provides a more effective overview than a time map. A time map will identify: A. What gives your life meaning and pleasure, B. Boundaries that establish what you will and will not do, and C. How you relate to your day - your energy, your aptitudes and your needs.

Here are 3 essential steps for creating a successful time map: Time Map Step One: Establish Your Time Priorities: Priorities point you in the direction you want to travel. However, a final destination is not essential ? your goals keep evolving. The key, instead, is creating a single hierarchy of values through which all your choices relate to one another.

Until you create a clear overview of what you value the most highly at all times, remaining true to your decisions will be much more challenging. You'll vacillate according to your mood. Ask yourself questions like: * What makes my life worthwhile? * How much activity is optimal for me? * How much open-ended time? * How many people can I realistically spend my time with? * What can I let go of? Write down the answers and look at them. Then create clusters. What time choices match your present values? What do you need to change? Let go of what conflicts with your highest goals. This establishes priorities that are empowering.

So initially, your time map is composed of several groups. Next, develop a single list of your core values. Under each value, list the activities that you wish to include. Refer to this anytime you experience conflict about time choices. Time Map Step Two: Create Effective To-Do Lists: Once you identify your priorities, make your daily to-do list an action plan to keep your time choices on track. A good to-do list includes everything you need to do and nothing extra.

If you never complete the tasks on your daily to-do list, use your priorities to shorten that list. Time Map Step Three: Check In With Yourself Daily: Review your time choices every evening. Ask yourself: * How well did my time choices align with my time map? * Did I leave out anything essential? * What's on my to-do list for tomorrow? * Shall I slightly or even fully revise my initial plans? * What's my back-up plan if something unexpected happens? * Do I have enough flex built into my day? * What I place on my to-do lists for the week and for the month? The more intensively you work with your time map, the more confident you will become of your ability to chart your life course. The more self-awareness and decisiveness you bring to your navigating with your time map, the more success you will enjoy while finding time.

Paula Eder, Ph.D., The Time Finder, has guided individuals and organizations to effectively align values with their time choices for 35+ years. For free weekly time tips & an award-winning monthly Ezine, visit

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