Plate Model for Everyday Time Management

Back to work – using the plate model for everyday time management


Did you forget all about work? During the summer holidays, your working memory is reset, which is good, because it will all come back to you, even if it may at first seem like you have no idea where you left off before you went on holiday. At the end of the summer holidays, sleep patterns are often disrupted and feeling tired can slow you down in the mornings.


You can get through it all, as long as you remember not to turbo boost your life and shoehorn too much into your days. You should, instead, combine your work and free time: enjoying a morning coffee or lunch at the marketplace or on your own balcony will keep your mind in the summer mode. You can also apply the well-known plate model to your everyday time management to aid a gentler return to work.

For many, the start of the autumn season means a return to routines. Routines can be an excellent servant but a bad master. However, the new autumn season could provide an opportunity to maintain routines that serve you well whilst eradicating ones that have become enslaving masters. Use the plate model for everyday time management to help you with this task!


In the same way as the traditional plate model, the plate model for everyday time management is also based on sectors. The sectors represent everyday time use. And the “essential nutrients” of our time use include: time spent as a family; our personal time as members of the family; routines of the home; transitions; rest and relaxation; play and exercise; friends and togetherness. Pleasant everyday life includes all these as a matter of routine.


A single activity can involve more than one of these sectors at the same time. For example, family time spent with family friends playing football and having a barbecue could include the ‘friends and togetherness’ theme as well as the ‘play and exercise’ theme. Or, taking a child to a hobby could, in addition to a transition, involve play and exercise if you play, for example, the number plate game on the way there or enjoy a jog whilst your child is participating in their activity.


Good routines fulfil effortlessly the needs of a good life. However, it is essential to keep a balance between the sectors described above so that no single sector dominates.


If life is all about household routines and transitions, with no rest and relaxation or time spent together as a family, the atmosphere at home can turn tense. But if life is all play and exercise and friends and togetherness, and no one has time to do a food shop or the laundry, day-to-day chores will start piling up.


A family is an ever-changing group of people living under the same roof. Everyone in the family keeps getting older, which alone has an impact on the way they want to spend time as a family.


You should have a discussion with your family about your family time this autumn and how big a slice of the plate model you each want it to take. If necessary, discuss how to redistribute, say, household chores, if many family members want a lot of time for their own hobbies or friends. In the long run, everyone in the family is better off if one person does not have too much on their shoulders. This allows even the youngest members of the family to learn essential life skills!


And the plate you compile this autumn doesn’t have to stay the same through the year. You can update it in the spring by having a chat as a family.


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