Signs You Don’t Need A Time Management Upgrade

Signs You Don’t Need A Time Management Upgrade
This post was previously published. It has been updated.

It’s always a temptation for me to fiddle with my system rather than actually do the work needed to move myself toward my goals and complete my projects. And so I get a lot of articles in various places on when to upgrade my time management. One of the things I have learned, though, is that it’s not about time management, but what I should be focusing on.

You Can’t Manage Time

Here’s the kicker, though: you can’t manage time. The passage of time is completely out of our control. All we can do is focus on what we choose to do at any given moment.

I’ve seen a lot of articles over the years that talk about when you need to revamp your time management, but it all boils down to when you need to adjust how you spend your time.

Today I thought I would share some signs that you might be able to use in order to get your focus on the right things.

Being Overweight

Many people will say that we are overweight because we don’t have enough time to do anything about it. In my case, I’m carrying extra weight because I stress eat too much of the wrong foods. I also don’t exercise every day, not because I don’t have time, but because I simply don’t want to.

I am working to add movement to my day, every day. I am using a program to help me reprogram my brain so that I don’t stress eat and I make better choices.

Solution: one has to eat. Make smarter choices. Exercise more.

Articles that might help:

Having Lots of Email in Your Inbox

Some people have thousands of emails in their inboxes.

I view emails in the Inbox as decisions that have been put off or not acted on.

Email has very limited outcomes: delete it, file it, respond to it, or put the information in another system, like a task list or calendar.

I keep my email under control, and deal with it regularly.

Solution: minimize the amount of email boxes you have to check, and then streamline your process for handling the email.

Articles that might help:


It isn’t a sign of time management failure to have clutter in the house. Instead, it is much like email: it represents decisions not made or acted on.

My mother used to bring a mini-van worth of stuff when she came to visit. My strategy was to dump it all in our dining room and then work through it in my time.

Some clutter comes from a lack of a place to keep something. It isn’t a matter of time, but rather a matter of organization or mistaken needs. Most of the cluttered people I have run across are cluttered simply because they don’t have a good place to keep things.

Solution: start purging things you haven’t used in the last year. Once that is done, eliminate duplicates as far as possible, then designate a place to keep everything. If you’re really stuck hire a professional organizer for coaching.

Articles that might help:

Commitments Fall Through the Cracks

Sometimes stuff that we quietly tell ourselves that we need to do, simply doesn’t happen. If this is the case with me, it isn’t because of a lack of time. It’s because I have not made it a priority, or I never really wanted to do it to begin with.

Solution: before you agree to do anything, make sure it is in line with your interest and goals, and that it is not something you are saying “yes” to because someone else expects it.

Articles that might help:

We Don’t Stay in Touch

Not staying in touch with people isn’t always a failure of time management. It’s because we lose sight of the important people in our lives and the need that any relationship worth having requires work.

I stay in touch with those people who are important. Others I purposefully neglect, and they’re usually the ones upset because I haven’t met their expectations. Well, those expectations are theirs, not mine.

Solution: if you really don’t have time for your spouse and children, make that a top priority, for they won’t stick around to be ignored forever. If other people are upset with you, ask yourself if it really is your problem, or if it is theirs.

Articles that might help:

We Are Stressed

We can take work with us everywhere. But that isn’t the only cause of our stress. Many people these days are stressed for many other reasons, like not having a job, or not being able to pay the bills, or wondering how you’re going to make it on a single income (that’s me there). When I’m stressed, it has nothing to do with work, but with everything else that is piling on top of me.

Solution: if you are stressed because you’re always working, stop. Turn off the cell phone. Turn off the laptop. If you’re not at the office, you don’t have to work. And work can get by without you.

Articles that might help:

Solution #2: if you are stressed because of economic reasons, know they are valid. Talk to someone about them; find specific ways to counter the specific stress. These are large items in this economy and cannot be fixed by turning off the technology.

Articles that might help:

Poor time management can lead to a lot of things; but let’s be honest about the other stuff on this list. Getting a better planner isn’t going to help you get a job; nor is it going to magically make your house pristine. Take the time to deal with the real root causes of the issues and you will find they are not about time at all.