Any phenomenon that becomes “fashionable” instantly acquires its own mythology. This mythology forms a system of concepts that are accepted and not questioned. At the same time, the vast majority of people do not think about whether it corresponds to reality.
This paradox has existed as long as humanity. Some such misconceptions are harmless and cute. But misconceptions about any management, especially time management, lead to real mistakes in life and work, reduce motivation, and kill faith in oneself. Time management games and activities increase motivation, engagement, and problem-solving skills. They also improve resource management, speaks creativity, and enhances teamwork abilities.
So, what is the history of time management?
History of time management
The history of time management goes back to the distant past. As far back as 2000 years ago in ancient Rome, the famous thinker Seneca proposed to divide all time into time spent with benefit and useless.
Seneca also began to keep a permanent record of time in writing. The thinker said that when living a certain period of time, one should evaluate it in terms of occupancy. In the later history of time management, these ideas formed the basis of such a concept as “personal efficiency.
Leon Battista Alberti, a writer and Italian scholar who lived in the 15 century, said that those who know how to manage time usefully will always be successful. To do this, he suggested using 2 rules:
- Make a to-do list every day in the morning.
- Arrange things in decreasing order of importance.
For centuries, all of these principles existed only in theoretical form, and only since the 1980s, this topic has begun to move from theory to practice. For teens, it will be useful to read time management tips.
Time management is necessary not only for executives and business owners: each of us must be able to manage our own assets to enjoy the process of life in its entirety. Of course, not everyone needs time management. If a person has nothing to do in his or her life, and his or her main task is “to kill time”, then time management is an irrelevant and unnecessary discipline for such a person.
In other words, you should first decide whether you really lack time and where you would like to spend your free minutes, hours, and days when they appear.
Time management consists of several components:
- Strict time management.
- Optimization of time resources.
- Planning a day (week, month, or another period of time).
- Organization of motivation.
Time management myths that affect your workplace productivity
Time management is important not only for work: people who have mastered the art of time management are more cheerful, healthy, and successful in professional and personal life.
Effective time management allows you to think about all your actions and decisions in terms of their appropriateness for your own development and improvement.
Myth Number 1: You can’t be a Successful Person Without Time Management
The main danger of this myth is that it equates being organized with being successful. This is not the same thing. It is the substitution of the essence with a tool.
At first glance, this myth seems very plausible. How can you be successful if you can’t consciously and systematically manage your time and activities? It seems like you can’t.
However, any success is first of all decision-making. And only in the second place is their execution. If you don’t make decisions or make the wrong ones, then no time management will help you at all. You will do a lot of things that lead you nowhere.
For example, Konstantin is a successful businessman. When I first met him and his style of doing business, I fell into a stupor. He was the epitome of anti-time management. Absolute unpredictability in his thoughts, actions, and decisions. Nevertheless, he has outstanding business accomplishments. Due to what? First of all – due to enormous experience, brilliant intuition, ability to make the most accurate decisions under conditions of lack of information, not to get lost in difficult situations, to be flexible and fearless
And this is not an isolated example. Neither Konstantin nor others like him did not need the classic system of time management or rules for improving productivity. They succeeded without their help.
Myth Number 2: There are Universal Time Management Systems That Suit all People
Most books on time management inconspicuously carry the idea that time management systems are not personal. After all, this is management! And it is a universal thing. At best, the authors divide people into rationalistic and intuitive (orderly and chaotic).
A greater stupidity is hard to imagine. A time management system is built into a person’s way of life and changes it (and the image, and the person). If it does not do this, it is ineffective. And a person’s lifestyle depends on his or her values, beliefs, cognitive filters and strategies, life situation, type of nervous system, peculiarities of character, activity, etc.
Trying to change your lifestyle by copying techniques developed by someone else is like trying to transplant someone else’s organ. Your body will accept it only under conditions of suppressed immunity, i.e. partial destruction of your identity. The same happens when you copy someone else’s way of life. It disorganizes you. Basically, there are only three possible alternatives:
- It will destroy your identity if you follow it fanatically.
- You abandon it or modify it beyond recognition (but this is a rare option).
- By chance, it will coincide with your personality traits and you will be able to apply it permanently (this is even rarer).
Myth Number 3: Time Management Doesn’t Work
The number of people who have tried living by time management and given up on it is greater than those who have succeeded.
In order for you to manage your time really effectively and without violence to your nature, you must construct a time management system for yourself. This requires a prior analysis of the characteristics of your personality, activities, lifestyle, and situation. If you set up a time management system for yourself – it doesn’t mean that all your time will be spent on work, the development of yourself, and your skills. You should also make time in this system for primitive things like watching movies using VPN for Amazon Prime or playing video games on PS4 or PC as well as other activities that help you relax and reboot.
The same about Konstantin, or rather about his sad experience of implementing time management.
Konstantin liked to attend all kinds of training, seminars, and other developmental events. At one of them, some charismatic person managed to plant in Konstantin’s head the bacillus of time management.
Konstantin decided to give it a try and hired himself a guru of time management. This teacher was the exact opposite of Constantine in temperament and most of his personality traits. However, he possessed great persuasiveness. The experiment of introducing time management into Konstantin’s life lasted about seven months.
Konstantin began to trust his intuition less and began to base his decisions on more formal and rational methods. As a result, for the first time in the last 14 years of his business career, he incurred serious losses (several tens of millions) and found himself on the verge of bankruptcy.
Now, being with Konstantin, it is better not to talk about time management.
Myth Number 4: Time Management Guarantees Personal Development
Many time-management techniques include blocks devoted to goal-setting. This is very correct and appropriate. But here lies a dangerous trap.
It lies in the fact that having reached a certain stage of development, people find themselves in a crisis associated with the need to rethink themselves and their life. He or she must make a kind of quantum leap. Instead, within the framework of time management, he or she is presented with rather primitive technologies of goal-setting.
In the vast majority of cases, these technologies are good in themselves. However, they allow you to choose goals based on meanings and values that are already familiar to you. And they do not work at all when you are experiencing an existential crisis.
If you fall into this trap, then instead of doing inner work on yourself and making a kind of quantum leap, you will move toward goals that are no longer relevant to you. You will lose time and exacerbate your own crisis.
For example, Elena is a talented person who worked for a long time as a top manager of a large company and finally opened her own business.
At the same time, Elena was always aware that the area of her professional development was not really interesting to her either when she was working as a hired employee or when she opened her own business. She was successful and highly professional. But all these years she was plagued by the feeling that she was out of place.
A year and a half after opening her business, this feeling became very strong. And then Elena went to training on goal setting and time management. Being an emotional and enthusiastic person, Elena came out of the training elated and with a list of new goals in her hands.
For eight months, Elena worked on achieving her new goals and got her way. What was the result? Severe disappointment and depression. Loss of meaning and motivation to move forward.
When I asked Elena why she thought this was the case, she said that the goals she had set in the training were totally artificial and superficial. With the shortage of time and group work, she formed pacifier goals: superficially attractive and appealing to the approval of others, but completely unresponsive to her deepest needs.
Myth Number 5: Time Management Immediately Starts Saving Your Time
This myth has probably caused the most casualties among time management recruits. Here is what a typical story of a victim of this myth looks like.
Vasily is a mid-level manager. He is promoted and made head of a division. The volume of tasks and responsibilities increases dramatically. Vasily ceases to have time and cope. But he does not give up and buys a hyper-popular in managerial circles book on time management.
Why does Vasya do this? Stupid question. To have more time. However, with amazement and irritation, Vasya notes that in an attempt to apply the great wisdom in the book, he gets less time, his life becomes more difficult, and the free time does not increase. And, funnily enough, all these phenomena only worsen over time.
After a little floundering in this situation and having exhausted his willpower reserves, Vasya powerfully forgets about any kind of time management. And later, upon hearing this magic word, he reacts aggressively and profanely.
What Happened? A tragic conflict between myth and reality.
Mythological time management is a magic pill that quickly and forever gets rid of your time problems. Real-time management is a painful process of changing your lifestyle and developing completely new and unfamiliar skills.
As soon as you start implementing a little bit of sophisticated time management in your life, your efficiency goes down dramatically instead of going up! And it remains low until new skills and habits are developed. And developing them takes extra time, motivation, and energy.
Because human is a lazy and fairy tale-believing creature, few people make it all the way to the end. Nevertheless, everyone should know how to avoid burnout.
A Practical Task
If you have never tried to implement time management in your life, please write for yourself on the sheet of paper:
- What goals would you like to achieve with it, what desires to realize?
- What in your way of life now prevents you from achieving these goals?
- What in you/your character prevents you from achieving these goals?
If you have tried any of the time management systems but were not successful in it, please answer the following questions:
- What time management systems have you used?
- How would you characterize the features of that system/s?
- What goals did you want to achieve by using them?
- What prevented you from achieving those goals?
- What didn’t suit you about the time management system you were using?
If you have tried any of the time management systems, implemented them, and are still using them, please answer the following questions:
- What are the main features of your time management system?
- Is there anything in your time management system that you find inconvenient or not fully effective? If yes, describe it.
- What would you like to improve in your time management?
P.S. When answering the questions, please do not limit yourself to such general and meaningless concepts as “laziness” or “procrastination”. They do not explain anything, but only close the road to possible positive change. These questions will help you to understand what you really want.
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This article first appeared on Entrepreneur.