Time Management Outside of 9 to 5

When we think about “time management,” it’s easy to associate the concept solely with work. After all, we often seek out time management advice as we’re searching for strategies to complete our work more efficiently, or achieve a more productive workday. However, looking at work in a vacuum, divorced from the rest of our lives, only paints half the picture of what it takes to achieve not only good time management skills, but life management skills as well.

Work Life and Personal Life

I’ve found that when I summon the self-discipline and planning skills to complete my work efficiently, other areas of my life benefit as well. I start eating better. I exercise more. I make more time for my friends and am more likely to dry the dishes on the counter than let them sit there for another day. It’s as though the progress I’ve made in my work life seeps into my personal life as well.

It begs the question: Does this concept work both ways?

If my work life feels scattered, but I manage to regain control of a messy house and a fast food habit, will those personal achievements translate into work achievements too?  I believe that, to a certain point, the answer is “yes.”


I believe that self-discipline is addicting and builds confidence. I believe that once you achieve a new “healthy” routine in one area of your life, it’s easier to achieve a similar routine in another area. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should expect to be a productivity fiend at work after one week of making it to the gym every morning. However, I think we too often ignore the relationship between the two.

This is what The Time Diet is all about and it’s why I never give a time management lecture or workshop without addressing the importance of a balanced life both in and outside of work.


Self-discipline is different than control. We can never control every aspect of our day. What we can do is have the self-discipline to plan in advance, stick to that plan the best we can, and utilize the resources available to us. Self-discipline is about staying on a path toward your goals, even when Time Killers viciously try to distract you.

What area of your life can you work to improve this week? The results may astound you.

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Photo Credit: Stuart Miles