Time Management Is Dead
Time management has had a good run. Time management was great for a long time. But its run is over. It is based on old assumptions and no longer meets today's reality. It is time for a new paradigm. It is time to strategically invest our time in other people, according to our priorities, and in ways that bring the most rewards.
Time management is based on the assumption that we can manage events around us. It made sense when communications were based on postal mail. It made sense when interruptions happened on a slower pace. We could manage when there was time between events.
Today, events can cascade over our work lives. We experience phone calls while dealing with email and text messages during those phone calls. And people want to drop in our office and talk. There is no way to "manage" all that. And we need time to actually do the job - forget about learning new skills and personal development. Family time? What's that?
A different paradigm recognizes all the different requests. Time is not just in short supply; it is our most critical resource. Instead of "time management", we need a paradigm of allocating scarce resources.
One paradigm is based on investments. By considering our time to be the most valuable and scarce resource, we choose how to invest it to get the best results.
Just like a farmer has to rest fields and pastures so that the land recovers, we start by planning how to rest and recover from the other demands. We consider our other priorities and plan out time for family, what activities we can be part of, and what other people can do. Only after that, we allocate time for work.
For many people, this approach is totally backwards from what they have been doing. Many people put work first and try to fit family around work. When work is scarce, that makes sense. When work has taken over our lives, we have to plan totally opposite in order to properly handle work.
Many times, we have to break free from the current organization in order to use time properly. We have to face the facts that when we are overwhelmed with work activities, we are not operating at our best. We can't. We only operate at our best in work when work is limited to its proper place in our lives.
Companies are starting to realize this and a few companies are insisting that people not do work at home after leaving the office. Other companies are putting limits on how others can break into our work. In some places, people are allowed to block off time for thinking and for concentrated work and only afterwards, handle email, phone calls, and interruptions. The results are that better work is done.
By putting limits on work, we do better work.