Why do we manage our time? We do it in order to make to the most efficient use of it.
I’m sure many of us have experienced situations where, if we had managed and organized our time better we could have done something a lot better or prevented a lot of nonsense from happening.
Time management allows us to do many things. It allows us to prioritize activities, schedule the appropriate amount of time for each activity, make sure that we do everything we need to do — because one you’ve put something in a schedule, it’s much easier to follow through. You’ve written it down and you’ve scheduled it in, as opposed to saying “Oh, I’ll get around to that.” So time management allows us to do many things. Fundamentally, it allows us to choose our time and plan it out…ahead of time, as opposed to just “figuring it out” and potentially getting sidetracked and mixing activities together.
There are a lot of advantages to time management. It allows us to hone in on certain activities. If time isn’t managed properly, then many different priorities will constantly be running through your head, “Oh I need to do this. Oh I need to do that.” If you know that you have things scheduled, then you don’t have to think about them.
But what are some ways in which people take time management too far? These are the type of people who I would classify as being more concerned with managing their time than actually enjoying it, or being fully engaged in their activities.
The reason we manage our time, in the first place, is so that we can perform activities at their best. But a lot of people get into this trap of being more concerned with “following the schedule” than actually enjoying or getting engaged in activities.
To take an example, it’s similar to the person who writes a perfectly detailed travel itinerary that takes everything into consideration, but then during the actual trip he can’t actually enjoy it because he’s so concerned with following the itinerary to a T. He’s always checking up on everything, making sure everything is going to plan that he can’t actually focus on the activities that he’s planned. He’ll be on a tour or exploring some area and he’ll be thinking of how he needs to be at a certain place by a certain time and whether his time is being used efficiently — when the itinerary was meant to make sure everything was organized smoothly so that he’d be able to enjoy the trip. What ends up happening is he lets the itinerary take over his mind and destroy the purpose of the trip.
A lot of people do this with time management. They get so used to this organization; it makes them feel so good. But then they can’t even “chill out” and relax during their activities. They’re too concerned with how efficiently their time is being used. And many activities, if you want to perform them effectively, require your full focus. If you’re working on a project or playing a sport, you need to be fully focused on the task at hand. You can’t be worried about how well you’re currently following your schedule or whether it needs to be updated. You need to have your “head in the game”, so to speak.
So what many people have with time management is the selectivity. They’ve selected the right things. They’ve scheduled the right things in. They have that selectivity, which is great…but they lack that depth to get “fully engaged” in the activities that they’ve scheduled. So what you want is both sides of the equation. You want to keep that selectivity, but you also want the ability to focus on a task and reach that level of depth where you become fully immersed in the activity.
by Mark Swan
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