The more I go on in life the more I realize how much I thought I knew that ends up being not quite right. I can’t tell if it’s funny or scary just how much stuff I used to subscribe to and now see as silly or even completely wrong-headed. Took me a while, but I’m getting better.
Time management is one of those things. There may not be a single topic in the business world that I have read about more than time management. And why not? It is still one of the top pain points our modern world has. Got any idea how many books, articles and seminars are offered on how we can better manage our time? I’ll tell you there’s a lot of them, and I could offer some great reads, but you probably don’t have the time anyway.
And I used to hit time management hard.
- Behind in your work? You need better time management.
- Not enough time with your family? You need better time management.
- Coming down with a cold? You need better time management!
- Your dog ran away from home? You…get the idea.
But time management is one of those areas where my thinking has evolved over the past few years. While I still think time management is definitely important, I am coming to understand that we can actually overdo time management. If you try and block out every minute of your day so that you can live some ideal life, you may only end up alone. Because life - especially a life where we work and live with others - will actively work against being blocked-out and structured in this way. I am all for being purposeful and intentional, but, when taken too far, this sort of time management ends up as little more than selfishness.
Here’s an example of what I mean: I have had some crazy personal things go on this past Summer and it would have been a disservice to who I most-deeply am and to my close relationships to choose my time management system over the interruptions. Moreover, I am profoundly grateful to all of those around me who were not so busy and committed to their time management so that they could reach out to me and offer an encouraging word or simply spend time with me. It may have messed up their day, but it made a huge difference in this corner of the universe.
And ultimately, isn’t that what we want our time-management to serve: making a difference in our corner of the universe? Then let us not get so planned out and so busy that we cannot leave room for offering ourselves in moments of need. Ah, how I continue to Rewire.