There are more time management techniques than there are stars in the universe. They might help you with productivity in the short term, but ultimately they are just masking a deeper issue.
In 1959, Swedish engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin invented the plastic bag.
He did so to answer a growing problem - the overuse of paper bags. So he wanted to help reduce the effect on the planet, namely on the world’s forests that were being cut down.
By 1979, 80% of Europe’s shopping bags were plastic. Fast forward three decades, we all know what happened next...
My point being, a solution often creates new problems. We only realise it in hindsight.
Let’s bring this back to time management. We all want to get on top of it. Be more productive.
The issue is, you can study every technique under the sun, chances are you will indeed free up time, but it tends to be short-lived.
By wanting to clear space on your plate, you end up with an even bigger plate.
With more time.
For more things to cram in.
Gift a high achiever with more “time” and you can be sure he or she will fill it.
Whenever a client comes to me saying they need better time management (and it happens a lot !) I like to approach it differently.
As with all my work, I go deep into identity level.
I approach it from the stories the clients are telling themselves to justify the need to always do “more”. These excuses live in the land somewhere in between “never enough” or “could/ should have”.
Never enough work. Never enough effort. I could have done more. I should have done this rather than that.
These statements are often coupled with strong feelings of guilt. Sound familiar?
Some questions I ask are -
Which part of your identity is linked to this need to overachieve?
Is it linked to a need to be constantly “busy”?
What are you trying to escape by constantly working?
Who modelled this way of working for you?
Your Zone of Genius
I like this concept taken from The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. Your zone of genius is a place you get into when in “flow”. It feels effortless to you.
Ask yourself -
What’s your zone of genius ?
Something only you can do, and very effortlessly, that reaps huge reward for minimal effort. Do as much of that as possible.
Forget time management.
Slow down. Try preserving and protecting your energy rather than searching for more time.