Why are we so poor at time management?

Time Management ProblemsIn today’s modern age, we are rushed off your feet completing the daily tasks required of us at work, as well as tasks that we have to do for our families. Depending on our role, we are asked to do more than just the daily tasks at the office. These can include having to go to charity functions and events for the company we work for, all of them eat into that limited resource called time.

Likewise, it’s not just tasks at home that have to be completed, but also taking the kids to football practice, dance practice, attending school plays, parents evenings and the list goes on. Our time is at more of a premium than ever before, yet we always seem to be putting stuff off because we can’t handle it all. It’s due to poor time management. The question is, “Why are we so poor at time management?”

Clock Time Vs Real Time

The main reason many people fail to manage time well is because of the lack of realization that there are actually two types of time: clock time and real time. Clock time involves such static measurements as sixty seconds in one minute, sixty minutes in one hour, etc. These time measurements don’t change – they are static. However, we really don’t operate by clock time; we operate by real time, where things we dread or aren’t interested in drag along for seemingly an eternity, while things we really enjoy seem to come and go in the blink of an eye.

Yet, the time management systems and devices we use to help us improve our time management skills operate on clock time. People rely on these devices and systems to help them improve their management skills, but most often, to little or no avail. Fortunately, real time is mental: this time exists in our minds, and because of this fact, we can manage it.

We often sabotage ourselves by thinking we don’t have enough time to do this or it’s not the right time to do that. Yet, if we took the proper mental approach, we’d see that we do have the time to accomplish what we need and/or want to do. We’d also see that it is as good a time as any to do a task we’ve been putting off because we think it’s not the right time to do it.

Accept there will be “curveballs”

It’s important to keep in mind that there are three ways to spend time: In conversation, doing an action, or thinking about accomplishing something. These are the things we most focus on that will help us complete the tasks and accomplish our goals… Yes, there will be interruptions and “curveballs” life throws at us; that’s a part of life. Yet, we can decide how much time to devote to those interruptions and “curveballs,” and whether they will hamper our efforts to achieve our goals or not.

The main reason time management devices and systems don’t work is because they focus on clock time, as we mentioned before. Yet, we live in a world of real time, where dreadful things can drag on for an eternity and wonderful things can be over in an instant.

We have to remember that there are three ways to spend time: thinking, doing, and speaking. We have to deal with life’s curveballs as they come up, but we get to decide how much time we devote to them.

By learning to not let those curveballs hamper our efforts to complete the tasks we need to accomplish, we will become much better at time management and will become more productive.

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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5 thoughts on “Why are we so poor at time management?

    • Thanks Mark, Thanks for dropping by, thanks for the offer i will have a look in the meantime have sent you a LinkedIn connection request if you would like to connect further

  1. Thanks Mike for the inspiring article. I agree that we are owners of our time but I would say that time management softwares are useless as the focus on real time. We do not need to separate real and clock time: we just need to find a balance. Working hours are changing rapidly and the old concept of 9 to 5 is quickly disappearing. I am a freelancer and I love to work at nights but I don’t want to lose contact with the time flowing outside my desk. For that I use a time tracking software: http://www.timeneye.com . It helps me to manage different projects and I can directly export reports and bill working hours with just one click.

  2. I’m really enjoying your posts 🙂 I had a huge a-ha moment a while back which is blatantly obvious but it didn’t register with me – I have no real concept of time! I think things take way less time than they do. Now I factor in 3 times more for jobs and it works out much better.
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