As I prepare to record a webinar series on time management, I’ve also been thinking about the dangers of focusing too much on time management.
Do you ever find yourself thinking or saying, “One day, I will be on top of my life and work demands. I only need to find the right combination of time management strategies, the motivation to work really (really) hard, and the skills to juggle all my work-life demands.” Sound familiar? If so, you might be falling prey to some of the dangers of time management.
When you look back on your life so far, you can probably see a series of ups and downs and unexpected turns that led you to today—a bit like a roller coaster ride. Things caught you by surprise and not everything was easy sailing. And yet, we still hope that one day, once we have everything figured out, our lives will level out. But considering the ups and downs in our pasts, aspirations for a smooth future are probably misplaced—and maybe just a bit boring as well.
Here are some dangers related to time management that you should avoid, to help you enjoy your present moment instead of wishing for some unachievable perfect future.
Losing the moment.
Time management can perpetuate the notion that in the face of increasing demands we must plan a way to do it all. This shifts our focus from the present to the future. We forget to throw up our hands on the roller coaster and enjoy what we are experiencing. We are constantly looking for the next season – and when it arrives, it is barely appreciated because we have something else that needs our attention.
Putting efficiency above all else.
Sometimes people think that good time management means that every minute of our time must be accounted for; that every moment must be productive and every space in our life filled with something that has a measurable output. Being productive is important and time management techniques can help us, but it can also trick us into thinking that individual efficiency is our highest goal. This is a questionable aspiration at best.
Failing to tap creativity.
Creativity, generating ideas and responding well to serious concerns and issues in our workplace requires time to think and reflect, then respond. Time management is not all about being busy, and productivity is not always measurable.
Part of time management is recognizing that we need time to regenerate so we can do our work with care and quality. We need to ensure we carve out time to be quiet, to reflect, with no phones, no computers, even no educational podcasts. Our minds need time to be off so they can be fully on. We need quiet time to relax in order to be healthy and to be productive.
Time management should mean avoiding spending time on things that do not enrich or add value to our lives, or the lives of those around us. It is about giving time to the things we need to and making time for the things we choose. Time management helps us reach the goals we pick for ourselves. With good time management we prioritize the tasks and experiences at work and we make time for the things in our life that matter.