Debunking 3 popular time management myths

As a world of busy individuals, we’re obsessive about time management. We spend a substantial amount of time and energy in search of out programs and tinkering with instruments that promise to assist us squeeze in additional work in fewer hours. Though some programs and instruments have advantage, they’re perpetuating a number of time management myths. We have to unpack these myths and begin doing what works. Time is ticking.

Fable 1: Improved time management will increase efficiency

Apparently, the connection between time management and efficiency is relatively weak. Efficiency is about far more than time. We’ve all heard the previous adage, “work smarter, not more durable.” That is good recommendation for time management fanatics. It’s not about how a lot work you will get finished—it’s about how a lot your work positively influences others. We have to reframe time management to be about specializing in high quality, not amount.


Does this imply we must always ignore time management altogether? Not precisely. Time management does seem to positively relate to well-being. This means one other time management-related cognitive reframing. It’s not about growing productiveness per se, however about remaining as productive as doable whereas minimizing stress.

Fable 2: Time management success is about managing your time

Nearly all of time management suggestions entail strategies for managing our activity lists and calendars. This has a comparatively minor affect on our time management success. One of the best ways to take care of efficiency with much less stress is by specializing in “filtering.” Irrespective of how wonderful your time management system, for those who let too many issues in on the entrance finish, you’ll by no means have sufficient time to get every little thing finished on the again finish.

It’s time to get higher at asking questions and saying no. When approached by others with a activity or mission, at all times ask for particulars. By no means decide to one thing until you could have an understanding of the large image, your function, and the way a lot time it’s going to take. We tend to become involved in tasks the place we don’t add substantial worth or to finish up caught in tasks that morph into long-term commitments.

It’s additionally necessary to start out setting expectations. We’re fast to complain about how a lot we have now on our plate. We ought to be simply as fast to professionally and rationally clarify to others how a lot time we will realistically provide. Whether or not or not it’s a supervisor, peer, or associate, they’ll respect you extra in case you are clear and life like than for those who fake you could have sufficient time, after which in the end drop the ball.

Fable 3: Conferences are full time-wasters

I repeatedly see tales about how über-successful, movie star CEOs corresponding to Oprah Winfrey and Mark Cuban maximize their time by refusing to go to meetings. Clearly, you shouldn’t settle for assembly requests haphazardly. However most of us have regular jobs, with supervisors and friends, and we don’t have that form of autonomy.

As an alternative of this excessive suggestion, simply be purposeful and strategic about conferences. For instance, stack your schedule each time doable in order that your conferences are again to again. It will be sure that you aren’t leaping forwards and backwards between supervisor mode (making selections with others) and maker mode (creating one thing individually), which drains our power and breaks up our focus throughout deep considering duties.

You also needs to watch out with on-line scheduling instruments. If time is cash, scheduling conferences is a negotiation, and the purpose is to win. As an alternative of giving out your schedule by way of Calendly, MixMax, or the like, inform different individuals once you need to meet. It will be sure that you handle your time and power in ways in which mean you can be extra productive.


One other suggestion is to dam out your schedule with a “self-meeting” to chip away at your deep considering duties. You could have the fitting to do your deep considering duties throughout work hours, not once you’re speculated to be at house recovering. Too many individuals spend all their time in conferences with no time remaining to execute post-meeting deliverables.

The best way to get on the fitting path

The godfather of management, Peter Drucker, as soon as stated, “Every little thing requires time. It’s the one actually common situation. All work takes place in time and makes use of up time.” His level is that time is the last word equalizer—everybody has the identical quantity no matter background, expertise, and sources. People who use their time correctly have a better chance of attaining self-defined success.

The important thing to time management, nevertheless, is being life like. It’s not a silver bullet for efficiency. The purpose ought to be to take care of well-being whereas producing high-quality work. Additional, instruments, strategies, and tips will solely take you to date. However for those who could be purposeful—by way of habits corresponding to filtering and being strategic about once you work with others—that shall be time effectively spent.

Scott Dust, PhD, is a management professor on the Farmer Faculty of Enterprise, Miami College, and the chief analysis officer at Cloverleaf, an built-in efficiency improvement platform.