Saturday, September 03, 2005

Time management is a myth

Following on from yesterday's blog, Paul Lemberg argues that 'time management is a myth'. See what you think -

To get an idea of just how silly it is, you have to realise that the very concept of time was invented by people who didn’t have enough of it. When pre-historic man needed more food, he said to his cave mates, “Let’s go get food.” When they had bagged a saber tooth or a wooly mammoth, they came home. Simple.

As life became somewhat more complicated, people started to say things like, “Meet me at the second tree by the river at daybreak.” As transactions among men (and women) increased in frequency and complexity, that system too became inadequate. There were too many appointments to keep so time was invented to manage all the goings on.

And right after that came the world’s most overused phrase:“I don’t have enough time.” What is the answer to this age-old cry?

You can’t manage time. You can only choose what you do with it.

This may seem trivial and obvious – I assure you it is not; I know that because of the sheer numbers of people who haven’t done it. Figure out what is really important right now, and do those things. And only those things.Think about it. You have a limited amount of time each day, week, and so on.

You can use that time for things that matter and make a difference, or you can fill it up with trivia. That’s a very basic choice.

You already know what is important – things which will make a significant difference to your business, in the short term and the long term. You don’t have to answer the phone just because it’s ringing. You don’t have to respond just because you’ve received an email. You don’t have to have a conversation now just because someone enters your office. Do what matters.

Skip or delegate everything else. Attend to your priorities. Everything else can slide.

If you spent your entire day working on the most important thing on your plate, would that have been a day well spent? Even if you didn’t complete the task? Of course it would. On the other hand, if you squandered the day on unimportant squeaky wheels, that would be a wasted day. Use a prioritisation system.

The breakthrough comes in spending your time on only those things that help you achieve your objectives.

Paul Lemberg is a Business coach and growth strategist.


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