When you think about it, “time management” is a ridiculous concept. Time always has been and will continue to be, impossible to manage.
Each of us is given 24 hours a day, and that’s it.
Really, the choice is about how you manage your attention: where you place your focus, your energy, and your effort. This isn’t just a matter of semantics, either. If your focus is on managing something which is impossible to change, you’re going to be forever frustrated. Instead, if your focus is on managing your own actions, you have a great deal of control and lots of options.
When you’re managing your attention, here’s what you should be asking yourself:
- What is it that is demanding my attention? This will tend to be stuff that is urgent, but that doesn’t mean it’s important.
- Why is my attention important? Perhaps there’s an overarching goal – my own or someone else’s – which helps me to figure out how much effort is appropriate.
- What else should I be spending attention on? These are things which are important, but perhaps not quite as urgent.
- When and where would my attention and energy best be spent? There always is a best time and place for everything – to be most efficient, have the most impact, or meet overall goals.
- What are the negative impacts I need to be aware of? This helps to create a sense of priority and timing.
- Where are there dependencies? Sometimes others depend on me, or I on them. Often it just makes more sense to do things in a certain order.
I wouldn’t suggest that you go through a full analysis like this every day. But if you do it weekly or even monthly, it will help to bring stability and focus to your hectic days.
It brings that larger perspective – one which you created yourself.