Sunday, 1 September 2019

Thoughts on time management and efficiency

A while back Anon asked:
"Can I ask you about somehting non hair related? I will go back to school this autumn and I really worry about how to balance school and part time work and a life and I worry about money too. I think maybe Igor is the right to ask about that because you seem to work a lot?"
Let me just start off with that I have no qualifications in time management or anything like that. I don't even think I've ever read one of those self help books or anything?


My tips on time management and efficiency on a short time budget:

Ask yourself what you can do for tomorrow's you
Tomorrow's you get tired and stressed too. What can you do to help?

If you're like me, any item on your mental to do-lists adds stress to your life. So even something simple like taking five minutes to tidy up your home (Focus on clearing up surfaces like tables and floors. Stacking things looks more organised than things spread out) will help you tomorrow.

Nice to do and must do
This is one I struggle with: Learn to separate your "have to do" from your "nice to do". Just because something is on your to do-list doesn't make it important. Yes, having a list full of "nice to do" is stressful, but learning to separate your "have to do" is necessary to remain sane.

Speculate in "open" and "closed" time
I don't know if there is a specific term for this, but this is what it's called in my head. For instance, coming home from work and having nothing else planned, so you have nothing to do until bedtime is an "open" time space. The time between putting laundry on and it finishing, is a "closed" time space.
"Open" time space is best for things like work, reading, blogging, hanging out with friends... Those things where you would like to do the thing until you get bored of it. "Closed" time space is perfect to get annoying little practical tasks done. They're especially good for doing those things that your future self will thank you for, like cleaning the kitchen, packing your work bag, taking out garbage, printing something you need in physical form, updating your calendar etc.

Have an in/out station
Create a space where you hang planners, calendars or notes so you can keep track of what you need to get done. This is also where you can put things that have to go out of your home, like letters and work stuff. Things that needs to be dealt with eventually, also goes here.
I keep my three bags here: A Kipling shoulder bag for "off duty". Two identical Samsonite shoulder bags that you can tell apart by the university ID and work ID card attached to the zipper in the front. There are hooks for hanging keys and umbrella and such. A magnetic whiteboard week planner.
However, it's on my to nice to do list to put up some better boards: We could use a month planner, a better week planner and maybe a blank one too.

I guess my only advice here is to clean up your monthly expenses as much as possible. But this is all things we all know already: You don't need that daily calories-and-coffee-bomb, you don't need a Netflix account. If you want to buy something non-essential like a box subscription or a gym membership, maybe you can find it as an option where you pay for it now for so-and-so long instead of a continuous expense. That way it's more like a gift to yourself instead of a monthly expense.

Hope this helps?


  1. @Anon: I don't know where you live, but maybe things like The Financial Diet could be of interest to you? It's a Youtube Channel/Blog/Book on personal finance, target audience is mostly female in school or starting out on the first jobs after school. They have also tips on side hustles, still being able to actually have a life and budgeting.

    While my situation is different (I live in Germany, work full-time with weird-ish hours, no school) there's often a tip I will still use or adapt for my situation. Something as basic as roughly planning your meals can e.g. safe you time and money.

    1. I didnt know of that channel! I just checked it out and its really good. Short and to the point for the videos and easy to understand. Thanks so much for suggesting it. A lot of popeople suggest mealplanning so I will try to do that too

  2. A lot of those points make a lot of sense, thanks Igor. This is pretty simple and easy to do and I like that