I am going to be RADICAL and tell you that the concept of time management is a HOAX. There is no way that you can manage time. The only thing that you can control is your productivity. What do you do with the time that you have!
The industry surrounding time management is huge. Just go to Amazon and see how many different books and programs are available to teach you how to manage your time. This is what I found with my initial search
Does This Mean That You Give Up On Using Your Time Effectively?
No…What I mean by this is that time itself can not be managed but you CAN manage how effectively you use the time that you have available. I am sure that you have heard of the Pareto’s Principle (80/20) and Parkinson’s Law. I will be discussing those further in the post.
You CAN NOT manage time because time moves at the same pace that it has always moved. You can’t change that. It does not matter if you have a lot to do or a little to do, time will continue to move at the same pace that it has always moved. Don’t tell this to all those people who have bought time management systems from Amazon 😨 …
The Reason Why People Are So Interested In This Topic
As people get busier and the pace of life gets faster it is very easy to feel overwhelmed with “I have got so much to do but so little time to do it in”. I just need a time management system.
People think “If only I could just manage my time life would be better”.
What would be more effective is to think…I only have so much time available how can I manage what needs to be done so that I can be effective.
What Is Pareto’s Principle?
This is the definition from Wikipedia: The Pareto principle states that for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes (the “vital few”). Other names for this principle are the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity.
Use Pareto’s Principle To Your Advantage
Here is what I am recommending. Spend some quality time really thinking about which activities will really move you closer to your goal. Typically these do not include things like scrolling FB and other Social Media. If you are going to do this then set a time limit for this specific activitly.
What I have found for myself is that there are only a handful of activities that will really move my business forward. These activities are a small amount of what is actually on my “To Do” list. In fact, they are about 20% of the number of items on my list! 😃
Once you decide what activitles are the most important for your business you can then focus your time on those activities and you will be surprised at how your business will grow when you use your time effectively.
Many people fail in business because they do not focus on what is important. It is so easy to get distracted by another system to follow and think to yourself…maybe this one will work for me.
What is Parkinson’s Law?
Wikipedia states: Parkinson’s law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
Use Parkinson’s Law To Your Advantage
If you have a task to do set a timer and only allow that amount of time to get the task done. I have found with myself that if I am home all day I think I am going to be super productive but I end out getting distracted and a task that would normally only take an hour during the week has now taken up the whole day.
In case you couldn’t tell from this article I am a big fan of timers.
Conclusion: 3 Steps To Being Productive Without Being Overwhelmed?
1: Forget The Concept Of Time Management
Don’t try to manage somethig that can not be managed. Reduce your stress and increase your productivity my focusing on what in in your control. For example being in control of what you do with the time that you have available.
2: Use Pareto’s Principle
Take the time to figure out what tasks are the most important. You could even break this down into the different types of money. For example: What is going to bring you money now? What is going to bring you money in 30, 60, 90 days?
Once you have decided on your tasks that need to be done to grow your business…focus on them for at least 90 days before deciding to change your plan. Some things will take time to develop. If you are constantly jumping around then you will not be successful at anything.
Use this 80/20 rule to your advantage. What you will find is that you will be less stressed and more productive because you are not overwhelmed with tasks that are not important.
3: Use Parkinson’s Law
Start getting used to using a timer. Set a specific amount of time to do the task. The amount of time that a task takes will grow to fit the time allotted so make sure that you are being realistic and not abundant when you set the time.
There are many free timers available online or you can use your cell phone. I caution you if you want to use your phone because you will be tempted to check your email and scroll your FB feed. Before you know it that time that you were going to spend on your task will be over.
I like the alternate way to think about time that you shared: “I only have so much time available – how can I manage what needs to be done so that I can be effective”? 🙂 That’s a smart question to ask when facing the busyness so common today!
Fabulous post!!!! This is definitely one of the best articles I’ve seen on the topic. Love your ideas to use the two “P” principles. Time is created- we find ways to create it for the things we choose- so love your idea to use the 80/20 rule for that! Oh, and that Parkinson’s Law… So cool to keep that in mind… I’ve definitely noticed myself doing that (using up all the time I could to complete something.) Great share!
Wow, Deb. This is an awesome post about why to stop using the term “time management” (because it’s a lie)–and to look at what really works for productivity. I love your telling us how you’re applying the Pareto Principle and Parkinson’s Law–and how you’ve benefited. The tip about being careful about using the phone’s timer made me laugh…how easily we allow ourselves to get off track.
Thank you so much Shirley. It has been a journey for me to change my thinking from time management to being productive with the time available.