Do You Fall For These Time Management Lies?

Do You Fall For These Time Management Lies?
This post was previously published. It has been updated.

Time management is the key to make sure that you don’t fritter away a precious resource on meaningless activities – at least without meaning to. Yet many people fall for time management lies, much to their detriment. Do you fall for these time management lies?

Every minute must be planned

Some people picture managing time as planning out every last little moment of the day. The truth is, if you are doing this, you are spending more time up keeping the system than actually working…and it’s a monumental waste of your time.

Good time management just means that you are aware of what you are doing, checking in often enough to make sure you haven’t been sidetracked. Good time management also means that if you decide what you are going to do, it is in blocks of time that are dedicated to a particular task. And those blocks are not minute by minute. Even highly paid lawyers and accountants don’t bill by the minute! The overhead would be too much to do all that tracking.

You must work all the time

Managing time isn’t an excuse to become all-work-and-no-play. Nothing is served by throwing your life into total unbalance. Recreation is necessary, as is down time.

Good time management means that you look at your schedule and decide how much time you want to work – and then stick to it, leaving ample time to rest and relax.

Time management requires special “stuff”

“I can’t manage my time because I don’t have an (x) planner.” The companies that make those planners love you to believe this lie, because it is what drives sales. Same with electronic planners, smart phones, data plans, stickers, markers, templates or whatever. But productivity tools don’t make you productive.

Time management planning can be done with pencil and paper. And not special pencil or paper, either. Anything you have at hand is sufficient. The fancy covers and devices are just icing, and make no difference to the actual planning process.

I can’t manage time and be creative

Some people who are creative producers feel that managing time impinges on their creative process. While open-ended blocks of time may be perceived as necessary to create, the fact is that “work expands to fill the time available.” (Parkinson’s Law) Limiting the time you are allowed to spend on something actually forces you to narrow the parameters and will spark creative solutions.

Good time management acts as a limit in which to work. Sometimes thinking inside the box forces more creative solutions than leaving everything wide open.

Time management is restrictive

Many people feel throttled by task lists and schedules. they don’t want to have their lives dictated by little bits of paper.

Good time management gives you a way to get the stuff rattling around in your brain a way to exit, so you can focus on the task at hand. By writing things down you clear the decks in your mind to focus on the task at hand. And this also gives you the ability to get the task at hand done faster and better, uninterrupted by distractions.

Time management is a waste of time

I have heard over and over from various people that they do not have the time to plan, or organize. And so they approach their days as mountains of stuff, picking pieces up and never quite making progress to the middle of the pile. And so because of that approach they never get to the truly important stuff, rather focusing on the stuff that is in their faces.

Good management of time allows you to clear away the urgent in-your-face tasks and find a way to work on the bigger projects that are important to you. Who wouldn’t trade a mountain of laundry in for achieving your favorite daydream?