Hack 27:   Map Your Time

第27招:  映射你的时间


Level         Easy

Platform    All (with a spreadsheet or calendaring program)

Cost          Free

级别              简单

平台              全平台(需要一个excel或日历软件配合)

费用              免费

The busy person’s perennial question is, “Where did the day go?” It’s easy to get tossed from one thing to the next like a piece of driftwood caught in the tide of your crazy life. A thousand things compete for your time and attention and tug you here and there, but only you know how you actually want to spend your time. You can take control, mindfully structure your days, and deliberately choose the activities — and time limits — that reflect your values and goals.


As with most things, the best way to start keeping your ideal, balanced schedule is to write it down (whether that’s on paper or on your computer is up to you). A personal time map helps you align the activities that fill your day with your personal goals more closely.


Your Ideal Time Map


Author of Time Management from the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern, compares the time you have in a day, week, or month to the space in the top of your closet: only a certain amount of stuff can fit in it.7 Before you start running from one  appointment to the next, decide how you want to fill the limited space of your day  with a time map. A time map is a simple chart of your waking hours that displays how much time per day you devote to different areas of your life.

《由内而外地管理时间》的作者Julie Morgenstern,在书中把在一天、一周或一个月里的时间比作你书柜顶上的空间:只有一定数量的素材才可以放得进去。在你开始从一个约会奔赴另一个约会之前,先要决定好你准备如何安排你有限的“空间”,使用一个时间映射表。时间映射表是一个简单的图标,显示你清醒的时候每天有多少时间可以用来分配给不同的区域。

For example (and simplicity’s sake), say that you decide you want to  spend about one-third of your time on work, share one-third of your time with  family, and save one-third of your time for yourself. Your time map might look something like  Figure 3-1.


Obviously, your ratios will vary and should reflect your life choices.  If you’re an entrepreneur, for example, work will take up more space. Family time will dominate for parents of young children. An entrepreneurial new parent? Well, you shouldn’t expect too much “me” time. When constructing your ideal ratios, be realistic.


Put together your ideal time map using your favorite calendaring  software (Microsoft Outlook, iCal, or Google Calendar, for example), or just  download the Excel time map template shown in  Figure 3-1.  It automatically shades in your map and calculates percentages based on focus codes (A, B, C, and D) and is available at



Figure 3-1: A sample time map.

When you’re putting together your time map, make sure that you do the following:


Keep the categories broad and generic, at least for your whole life map. You can do subtime maps (such as a work time map) separately.


Don’t schedule things down to the minute. This is a guide, not an exercise in down-to-the-minute accounting.


Keep overall ratios in mind, aligned with the things you deem most important in life right now. That is, if career is your top priority,  the largest percentage of your map should reflect that.



Now that you’ve determined how you’d like to place your life’s  priorities into your days’ space, you’re halfway to making that a reality.




After you create your overall time map, submap sections of it — for example, your time at work. Schedule in blocks of time to process email, attend meetings, and write reports.



Make sure all your job responsibilities are represented — and likewise for your personal and family time.


Your Actual Time Map


Now you’re ready to see how your actual schedule lines up with  your ideal. Place your time map somewhere in plain view, such as on your desk or the  refrigerator. Each day for a couple of weeks, jot down how you spend your time, and  then compare your vision to reality. Note how close your actual time map is to your  ideal. Adjust the actual; adjust your ideal. Wash, rinse, and repeat.



The more you work with your time map, the more you’ll become aware of how that extra hour spent at work — because you were feeling pressured or generous  or simply lost track of time — means you’ll spend an hour less with your family,  doing things that you enjoy, or sleeping.



Most important, when someone asks, “Where did the day go?” you’ll have the answer.


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