Everything will be fine as long as we know how to manage our time, right? Well…only to a certain extent. There are some things you need to recognize first.
For many of us, time management is just a matter of arranging all your important tasks to fit within a certain (limited) time frame. It’s supposed to magically give us enough time to do everything we need and want to do – unfortunately, it never really does unless you drop some things from your to-do list. Then you feel like an utter failure at time management because you failed to do something you’d originally set out to do, even with the help of advanced productivity tools like virtual pbx and cloud sharing apps (which allow you to work on-the-go).
You shouldn’t beat yourself up over it
Here’s a little secret: perfect time management is a myth. That is to say, it’s impossible for you to do everything that you want and need to do in a given day, especially when the items on your to-do list keep increasing exponentially on a daily basis. Aspiring to a time management strategy that can account for all the things you will ever need or want to do only leads to despair. It’s a pipe dream that we all need to let go of.
Instead, we need to be more practical when it comes to the facts we’re facing – how much time we actually have, how much work we actually CAN do in a given time period, and what needs to be done in order to produce excellent work. You need to recognize all this without having to forego what’s essential to every person: some down time.
Why you’re more likely to believe in ridiculous time management ideals
As was mentioned before, there are so many tools and so much information for productivity that are available to us these days. Because of that, it’s fairly easy to think of failed attempts at time management as personal flaws that need to be addressed and corrected with even more tools and techniques for managing time. It’s fairly easy to think that something out there MUST be capable of making your workload more bearable, giving you more time to do things you always wanted to do.
But much like other most innovations and technology, such tools and techniques aren’t sure-fire ways to solve all your problems. The key lies in how you use them to your specific benefit. Contrary to what many of these strategies and products claim, they are not one-size-fits-all solutions. Nevertheless, it’s much less stressful to admit that you still need to customize your time management for your own needs.
How you’re probably doing time management wrong
One thing and one thing alone contributes to ineffective time management – and that’s fear. More often than not, you let your fear of not being able to do enough run the show. As such, you tell yourself that you can’t possibly turn down another task whose deadline conflicts with another task’s, or that it would be a bad idea to file for a vacation because you’ll fall behind on tasks. Then you leave it at that without even thinking that there are alternatives, like turning down a project, requesting an extension, or getting someone else to take over.
In order to manage your time in a way that will truly satisfy you, you need to ask yourself if your impulse to put or keep things in your task list is driven by the fear of judgment or failure. You also need to ask yourself if there are other solutions BESIDES accepting more tasks and doing everything on your own. Only then can you make your time manageable.