Time Navigation V3.4

Time Navigation


Just made that up—do you like it? It's a response to the opinion of some notable figures that don't like the term "time management." They claim that time cannot be managed and marches on regardless of what we do. This strikes me as obvious, but still a little silly. I don't think people ever thought they were manipulating or controlling time with the expression "time management."

No matter. I think time navigation is a fine term that captures the idea of doing the best we can with the time we have. Today I wanted to share my current approach to time navigation. By my best calculations this is probably my fourth iteration of my third major approach to time navigation, hence V3.4. Philosophy aside, this is what I've been doing lately:

Daily Dos

There are some things I wouldn't want to go a day without doing. Habits I consider essential in becoming the person I want to be. Obviously, I do them every day, and usually as my top priority—if other, time-sensitive engagements allow.

I actually have two lists of daily activities. They each speak to the same areas of my life, but have some variation in the tasks so I don't have to fit everything into a single day. For example, if you were learning two instruments, perhaps you could practice one on the first day and the other on the second. Another example would be like the fitness articles I post on my Facebook page—I don't want to post one every single day, so I only include it on one list. I alternate which list I complete every day.


I always plug inconsistent or infrequent tasks into my calendar. Examples: training sessions, doctor visits, meetings/commitments, bills, etc.

Weekly Dos

Obviously, there are some things that I want to keep in my life, but that don't need to be (or shouldn't be) daily things. Instead of making seven different daily lists, I just keep a little weekly list as well. I am not strict about how quickly these are accomplished, or else I would schedule them for a specific day every week. Instead I want to stay involved with them, without doing them too frequently. This list actually prevents me from doing something too frequently—like a guitar jam session.

Secondary Habits

How I study anatomy when I stay up late to do so. (don't hate on the monitor)

How I study anatomy when I stay up late to do so. (don't hate on the monitor)

Important, but not enough to make me go to bed late. In fact, these used to be part of my daily list, but I changed my approach. For example, I'm currently studying anatomy—I enjoy it and it is beneficial to my work in the gym—but there's no deadline and no way to "complete" it. So, instead of doing 10 minutes of anatomy every day, I try to get an hour in each week. That may be an hour on one day, half-hours on two, or something else—whatever is most convenient after more important things are done.

Unusual Tasks

When little tasks pop up in life, I generally try to maintain enough flexibility in my schedule to just knock them out an continue on my way. But when things will take some time, but don't have a real deadline or urgency, they fall here. Examples: rearrange the guest bedroom, reupholster a chair, build a shoe rack.

Less Urgent

Quite unimportant things, really. It would be nice to get to them, but they just don't merit priority to me—sometimes they sit on this list until I don't even care to do them anymore. Examples: reorganize my iTunes, upload my wedding pictures to Facebook (over 2 years now), reorganize my library.

Coming Together

Whenever I want to do or accomplish something, or if I am given an assignment or appointment of some sort, I find out which of the above homes it belongs in. Then, each evening I make sure I've got the next day lined up. (Always looking a few days ahead to see if there's anything I need to prepare for).

This makes my actual daily to-do list. Everything comes together to form a top-down priority list for the day:

Daily Dos/Calendar Items
Weekly Dos (if it's been a week)
Secondary Habits (if I need to do more)
Unusual Tasks
Less Urgent things.

Thanks for reading, hope you got an idea or two.