The One Mistake People Make About Time Management
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed?
That there’s just too much to do and too little of you?
Have you ever gone online to search for time management?
I know I have — countless times.
Earlier in my career, I often looked for a hack or a tweak that would change everything.
I never found that thing. I just wasted more time browsing for a solution.
Then a tweet got me angry
Time Management is nothing but your attempt to change how you FEEL.
“That’s some new age mumbo jumbo. I’m looking for hardcore tools to manage my stuff!” I told myself.
Yet I noticed that some people were outstanding in time management without apparent tools. And I wanted to figure out how.
So I started asking around.
Finally, I asked the CEO of one booming business here in Finland. “I want to find a perfect tool for time management,” I told him. “How do you manage your time?”
He returned with an innocent question, “Why is it important for you to find a time management tool?”
“To get my stuff and to-do’s sorted out,” I replied.
“Now, why is it important to you to get stuff and to-do’s sorted out?” he got curious.
“So I could get more time for myself and still get my job done,” I said.
“Ok. Why is it important to you to get more time for yourself?” the CEO pushed.
“To be able to do more things I love with the people I care about,” I replied
“Now we’re talkin’,” he said. “Why is it important to you to do more things you love?”
“To feel that I’m living for myself. To feel that I’m driving my day and not the other way around. To feel that I’m in control of my life… oh shoot… the tweet was right,” I told him.
The last advice the CEO gave was simple.
“Map out three primary feelings you are looking for when you think about time management. Then start to figure out what has to happen for you to feel that way.”
I thanked him. We went our ways.
After the experience, I started to ask around some more.
It quickly turned out that there are three primary feelings most seek when they think about time management.
1. To feel in control
The truth is that we can never be in control of other people, politics, pandemics, the weather, or the economy.
The same thing applies to most stuff in our personal lives too. We can’t control most things; we can only work to influence things in hopes that they will turn in our favor.
While control is mostly an illusion, the feeling of being in charge is necessary for well-being. To feel that you drive the day instead of the day driving you.
When people start to look for time management solutions, it often turns out they have lost their feeling of control.
So here is the question: What has to happen for you to feel in control?
2. To feel progress
If you have ever been in a new relationship and are freshly in love, you may know what soon happens.
After the first phase of hot mornings between bedsheets is behind and the real world starts to catch up with you, either one of you will wonder where this relationship is going?
It’s natural because people need to feel that things are progressing.
It’s the same with a garden, for example. If things don’t grow, they start to wither.
When people begin to look for time management solutions, it often turns out they don’t feel like things are moving forward anymore.
So here is the question: What has to happen for you to feel things progress?
3. To feel meaning
As a software quality professional, I’ve struggled a lot with this one in my career.
I’ve wasted a ton of hours doing things’ right’ at the expense of doing the ‘right things.
In other words, I wasted hours on work that had no meaning.
When things we work on aren’t connected to meaning, it eats away our energy.
Author Viktor E. Frankl observed the same during his years at concentration camps during the 2nd World War.
Based on his experience, he wrote a brilliant book called Man’s Search For Meaning.
People who found meaning in adversities seemed to live longer, and some managed to even thrive amidst horrors.
While today we’re facing way smaller problems today, the need for meaning is still there.
When people begin to look for time management solutions, it often turns out they don’t feel like things have meaning for them.
So here is the question: What has to happen for you to feel that there is meaning in what you do?
I call these three the Triad of Time.
It takes serious work to figure out what it would take for you to consciously generate those three feelings.
In the end, you will find the you-specific toolkit you’ve always been looking for when you searched for time management tools.
Have a fantastic end of year my friends!
— Antti from Kaizen Hour
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