Notes on a Time Management Plan

Last week, I introduced a tongue-in-cheek “Time Management Plan (and System)“. Though a dig at our over scheduled, over committed and under focussed lives; this plan is real. And it works.

The Plan

0. Divide the day into three parts: “sleep”, “work”, and “play”.

The System

1. When it is time to sleep, sleep soundly.

2. When it is time to work, work with focus.

3. When it is time to play, play with passion.


  • Do plenty of all three, every day.
  • Respect the present. Be present.  Be “in the moment”. When sleeping, only sleep (no laptop in bed). When playing, only play (no iPhone on the mountain hike).  When working, only work (no checking twitter every 2 minutes).
  • Respect the proportions. Trying to shrink one slice in order get more of another always backfires.  Less sleep means less productive work.  Less work means less resources to use for play.  Less play means less restful sleep and less creative, unique work.
  • Respect the parts. Don’t try to create more than three slices.  Patterns such as “sleep”, “work”, “sleep”, “play”, “work”, “play”, “work”, “sleep” do not work because there is too much lost time and energy in the transition zones when moving between slices.

Why does this work?
The alternative is what I suspect all these people that are “always working” are really doing. Spending a lot of the work day on unfocussed web surfing, Twitter, and blog reading and then staying up all night because of too much work – resulting in getting no sleep and then not being able to focus on work the next day. This time management plan breaks that vicious cycle.

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