Time Management Tip: How to Manage Your Time Without Using a Clock

posted in: Time Management 3

Here’s an interesting time management riddle for you…

Ornate Clock
Do you always need to use a clock to manage your time?

True or false? If you are going to manage time, the only way to do so is to have a digital display, analog clock or timer handy and watch the clock like an eagle.

My answer might surprise you, but I’m going to answer false. A clock can certainly help you figure out what time it is in relations to your immediate world and surroundings, but you don’t have to always rely on a clock in order to manage your time.

Below are some tips on how to manage your time…without using a clock:

Use routine tasks/errands/chores as a time guide.

What routine tasks, errands or chores do you have down to a science? These items are great units of measurement for telling time because: 1) you do them routinely, 2) you probably do them well, quickly and efficiently, and 3) you already probably have a sense of how long it takes to do a full circuit, under good or optimal conditions (no traffic or other delays, etc.). Use these items as your personal guide to the passage of time. How long does it take to: go through postal mail? Take a trip to the bank and pharmacy? Go through your email? Walk the dog? Make a sandwich? Do some filing?

Set a production limit.

Instead of watching the clock, set a concrete and finite production limit for whatever it is you are doing. Note that this tip does involve having a general idea of how long it takes you do to something, so you might need to do a little bit of reflection ahead of time. Let’s say you need to collate a set of 25 catalogs. You know it takes you roughly 3 minutes to prepare one catalog, so 25 x 3 equals 75 minutes or about an hour and fifteen minutes (give or take a couple of minutes) for you to complete this task. Repeat with any other task you want to accomplish: writing an email, brainstorming ideas, cleaning a floor, stocking a shelf…it’s as easy as taking your eyes off of the clock and focusing on the task or tasks at hand.

Image of an eBook with an alarm clock and the phrase, The Order Expert's Guide to Time Management


The Order Expert’s Guide to Time Management is a hands-on workbook that provides practical solutions to common, everyday time management problems.

Click here to learn more about the workbook >> 

How do you feel?

Paying attention to how you feel can give you great information about what time it is or how much time has passed. Simply pay attention to your basic needs (do you feel sleepy, tired, hungry, achy, thirsty, etc.?) and apply this to activities throughout your day. For example, you might have a general idea of the passage of time when you realize you’d like to take a coffee break at work, when you start to lose focus or your concentration after working on a project or task for a certain amount of time, when you start to get sleepy in the afternoon and need a breath of fresh air from the outdoors.

Pay attention to external cues.

Tell time the old-fashioned way by paying attention to what’s going on in your immediate environment. When does your pet come to you looking to be fed? When is the mail delivered during the day? When do your coworkers start getting up from their desks to go and get lunch? When does traffic start to become more busy in the street outside of your window? When does the sun rise and set?

How about you? How would you answer the above riddle? What cues do you use to tell time or do you rely on a clock to manage your time?

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.

3 Responses

  1. […] Time Management Tip: How to Manage Your Time Without Using a Clock (theorderexpert.com) Rate this:Share This:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestStumbleUponDiggRedditEmailMorePrintTumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  2. […] Time Management Tip: How to Manage Your Time Without Using a Clock Related posts: […]

  3. 2012 Recap! | The Order Expert

    […] 2 Leadership mentioned Top 10 List: 10 Time Management Mistakes and Time Management Tip: How To Manage Your Time Without Using A Clock as related […]