Auguste Rodin; the French Sculptor once said, “Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” While that may be true, the reality of the work world is that your time is a critical resource that must be used efficiently for greatest success. With the present day attention and fuss on the concept of improving productivity through improved time management, it’s easy to assume that people with massive breakthroughs in productivity are making small tweaks to their workday.
It is important to note that this is not necessarily, as a majority of those “time management rules” are but myths, that don’t deliver what they promise. Having said, lets debunk the top 5 myths of time management.
Myth 1: There’s a finish line where everything is done and dusted, once and for all.
If increased productivity is what you desire, please abandon the idea that all your tasks will ever be all finished. A better perspective to “reaching the end-goal” is to make sure that top priority works are done. By making deliberate choices of prioritization, you move toward the most important outcomes. Productivity will never be measured by what’s left undone. Rather than focusing on number of tasks completed, your focus should be on the quality of tasks accomplished.
Myth #2: Making a to-do list will make you more productive.
To-do lists won’t save the day. They are in fact only intentions and not scheduled commitments and they can often be a way you trick yourself into thinking you have accomplished something, when in fact, your tasks are as numerous as ever. The Harvard Business Review’s Daniel Markovitz states, “Stop making to-do lists. They’re simply setting you up for failure and frustration”… “Take your tasks off the to-do list, estimating how much time each of them will consume, and transferring them to your calendar. (Don’t forget to leave time to process your email. And leave some empty space—one to two hours—each day to deal with the inevitable crises that will crop up.) In essence, you’re making a production plan for your work.”
Myth 3: Don’t be distracted by emails, calls or sudden deadlines.
Phone calls, emails, , meetings and notifications are indisputable parts of the present day working world. By calling them “distractions” you minimize the importance of their collaborative nature. Instead, think of them as “obligations.” Being an effective time manager means you manage your schedule well enough to be flexible and responsive in a way that makes sense.
For example, if you know your best writing or coding time is first thing in the morning, book some morning time on your calendar and then attend to calls and emails. Management of communication flow communication is an essential tool for your time management toolbox.
Myth 4: A perfect time management system exists.
There really is no single magic bullet for managing your time more effectively as there are multiple affecting factors. The best way to improve time management for yourself, (and for your team), is to make small, incremental changes. Start with short-term goals, over the course of a few weeks, review, and see what changes work best for you and your team as you implement them. Then, adjust accordingly.
Myth 5: Undivided focus is key.
It is mostly said that successful outcomes come from hours and hours of completely focused, uninterrupted time. In the real sense, creativity and productivity respond best to routine. The best way to achieve a large goal is to break it up into manageable pieces and complete those tasks on schedule.
There are a hundred and one rules, types and best practices on efficient and effective time management, don’t fall for them. Find what works best for you, and master it.