Everybody has 24 hours in a day. That’s invariable. Some say the best hack to get the most out of those 24 hours is to manage our time. There are a slew of books, systems, courses, and tools on time management these days.
If this is the case, then why are we more stressed than ever? Why there are people who achieve more than others when we all have the same 86,400 seconds a day?
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Let’s explore the reasons why time management can be such a waste of time.
1. We are so focused on managing time than managing our energy
In managing energy, we need to involve not just the body but also the three other dimensions: Our emotions, spirit, and minds. The energy renewal programs at Wachovia Bank boosted the workers’ productivity.
Aside from renewing their energy, they also followed the “ultradian rhythms”. It allowed them to fully focus for 90 to 120 minutes, take a true break, and fully focus on the next activity.
2. Your tools do not reflect work-life balance
To-do lists and prioritising are great tools, but they don’t offer improved work-life balance, happiness, or success.
Blogger Chrysta Bairre said work-life balance is not the result of spending a specific number of hours on work. It is about quality of time, not quantity of time.
3. We can’t manage distractions
Knowing how to minimise distractions is one of the most important tools for gaining control of time. Many of us are victims of technology interruptions.
To keep yourself from browsing the web especially social networking sites, use special software like Freedom and Anti-Social to block websites.
4. Trying to be a morning person does not work for everybody
A lot of successful people talk about how they wake up at 5 a.m. and get things done before the day started. Author Steve Tobak shared that he still had a great career even if he’s not a morning person.
He said it helped a lot to stop feeling guilty and trying to be something he’s not. In fact, one research discovered that people with higher IQs tend to be night owls.
5. We’re all about systems and no action
Some people are too organised – they spend all their time developing systems. That leaves no time for action, like time for marketing, networking, and doing client work.
6. Multitasking does not produce better work
Lolly Daskal, CEO of Lead From Within, said that a more effective approach is to take things off your to-do list one item at a time on the basis of priority and deadline.
7. All we can manage is ourselves
International speaker and personal coach Mikal Nielsen wrote that self-management, and not time management is needed.
It makes sense, since time completely takes care of itself and requires no management.
8. We get steamrolled by our emails
Attending to emails topped the list of time-killing activities. The lack of email response time agreements is one of the organisational root causes for unsustainable email situations. Jeff Weiner, CEO at LinkedIn, has settled into a specific routine during the workweek.
He wakes up early and spends roughly an hour on his inbox. He has a golden rule of email management: If you want to receive less email, send less of it.
9. Busy is not the same as productive
Ever found yourself sifting through piles of worksheets for hours? It may be urgent but it’s not important.
The Eisenhower matrix can help you decide on what tasks to avoid, limit, manage, and focus on.
10. Scheduling every minute of the day is impractical
It helps not to over-plan in scheduling tasks. Over-planning will only leave you frustrated fairly quickly and next thing you know, you abandoned that task.
11. Some of us are using the wrong rituals
Peter Bregman, CEO of Bregman Partners, said there are processes you have to go through to know which tools work best for you. Think about the time-management problems you face.
Once you’ve identified them, choose a tactic that will solve that problem. If that tactic did not work, try a new one.
12. We spend time on things that do not advance our goals
Sean Johnson, Marketing professor at Kellogg, said he starts with values to take better advantage of his time. He picks between three to five of those values and focus on them for three months.
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Those values will be then be transformed into goals.
13. Squeezing as many tasks into your day is not a good idea
To some, time management means doing more in less time. Simplifying the way you work by “working smarter, not harder” is actually more effective.
14. There are times when we’re more reactive than proactive
Do you allow unimportant details drag you down? When you feel like you’re being more of a victim than a sovereign of the mind, remember that there’s always a choice for change.
15. Prioritising is the best thing we can do to not become lost
Lack of time is actually lack of priorities. If something actually needs to get done, you might as well do it no matter how exciting or non-exciting that task is.