The way I see it, time management flows from two basic principles:
- There’s no such thing as “free time”.
- You have a choice in how you spend your time.
A number of questions naturally comes up. Your answers says a lot about how you view time management.
How much time do you have? Nobody knows. Everybody dies at some point, so it could be tomorrow, or years from now. All you know is that your total time allotment is ticking down every second. Having lots of “free time” just means that you haven’t planned out what you’ll do next. You may decide that’s not such a bad thing – but just be mindful that the time’s not coming back.
How do you want to spend your time? The most important realization is that you do have a choice. There are a million things you could imagine doing, but only a very few you can actually do from moment to moment. So what should those be? You have to start thinking about your goals – short term, and long term. What you want from your life? If you have long-term goals, what are the intermediate steps that will help you achieve them? How is what you’re doing right this moment helping you be who you want to be?
So what does that mean? You’ll never actually have “free time” – you can only substitute other ways to spend your time. If something’s important to you, make the time and do it. If you can’t or won’t make the time, then maybe it’s not so important to you after all.
On the other hand, don’t go overboard and stress out about how you’re not maximizing every single moment. That’s definitely not the best way to spend your time either. Enjoy your life. Just make it count.