Debunking * the Time Management Myth

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

*To expose or ridicule the falseness, sham, or exaggerated claims – free dictionary.com

Jane Lawson

Most of us were and still are instructed in Time Management courses as part of the skills required to juggle the myriad activities in our complex, day-to-day lives.

Personally, I’m a Day Runner graduate. I became adept at filling in all the waking hours of my day. Since I wasn’t originally taught to allow for interruptions, breakdowns, higher priorities – you know, LIFE – I just worked faster and longer hours to keep up. My perpetual complaint was that “there aren’t enough hours in the day.” I continued to cram everything into twelve hours a day, wondering why I never felt complete and, more often, felt exhausted.

Sound familiar to anyone?

This takes me to the debunking part.

Have you noticed that as a culture we tend to create distinctions that don’t always say what we mean? And since a great majority of our lives are managed through the language we use, is there any wonder we have difficulty communicating with each other and creating a framework for workability with our time?

The “Aha” moment for me was realizing that “time management” was a misnomer. As much as I wanted, I could not “manage time.” Twenty-four hours in a day. Seven days in a week. You get the picture.

At that time I was introduced to the distinction and skill of commitments management. While I cannot manage time, I can take responsibility for the commitments I make for my time.

Commitments management requires me to look at the whole of my life commitments first and create space on my calendar for those personal priorities.

Secondly, it requires that I look at the reality of time that each commitment takes before I accept (or make a new commitment to) a request for that time.

Thirdly, it requires that I pencil in anticipated “think time” and “work time” on my calendar for each commitment.

Last, but not least, commitments management requires that I learn the art of renegotiating my time commitments when unexpected changes come into my life.

The outcome: When I follow the steps of commitments management, it forces me to look at the reality of balancing commitments with the priorities of my life. In so doing, I am far less stressed and far more content with my accomplishments.

I still use my monthly calendar hard copy to keep my appointments at a quick visual on my desk. Old habits die hard.

Jane Lawson is a Master Certified Coach and resides in The Woodlands, Texas

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