Why Is Time Management So Elusive?

September 25, 2017

In this post, I want to start a dialog.  We may not find all the answers in one post.  In my experience, answers that come that quickly tend to be deceiving.  Quick answers ignore the complexities of an issue.  They make us feel that we’ve addressed the issue, but in reality, nothing has changed.

Credit: iqoncept Depositphoto ID: 32472607

Systems

I have been thinking a lot lately about Time Management.  Systems that have worked for me in the past aren’t having the same impact they once had.

  1. Perhaps the current roles and responsibilities require different systems.
  2. Perhaps the systems I used in the past are no longer available because the technology has moved on rendering prior tools “obsolete”.
  3. Maybe today’s environment has more distractions than the old system was designed to overcome.
  4. Or maybe we just got bored with a system that worked and moved on to the latest shiny object that promised deliverance from our distractions.

Dis (oh look) tractions

I am reading The ONE Thing

(So let’s be honest.  In the course of writing the sentence that begins above and concludes below, I checked an email account, read and thoughtfully replied to a Facebook post, while having successive YouTube videos playing in the background, “Liking” half of those videos, “Sharing” one of those YT videos on my Facebook timeline (https://youtu.be/ecUU6AWJj-4), started to share it in a group but decided not to, and answered a phone call from my son.  OK, I’m back.)

by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan as I get ready for a group chat with one of the authors.

(Hold on.  The person replied to my FB reply.  I’ll be right back.)

One of the key takeaways from The ONE Thing was how they took the time to explain and teach the underlying concepts behind some of the productivity axioms we’ve heard for years.  For example, they discuss the impact of interruptions in the workplace.

Researchers estimate that workers are interrupted every 11 minutes and then spend almost a third of their day recovering from these distractions. And yet amid all of this we still assume we can rise above it and do what has to be done within our deadlines. (Page 46)

The Myth of Multitasking

I remember listening to cassette tapes of Dr. Charles Hobbes in the mid-1980s telling us about the myths of multitasking.  Thiry years later, Keller and Papasan, among many others are still trying to get the message across.

It’s not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do, it’s that we feel the need to do too many things in the time we have. (Page 46)

At the heart of the matter is not that we have too much to do.  Rather, we have trouble being honest enough with ourselves or employers to say 75 hours of work really can’t be done in 40 hours—not well at least.  Instead, we try to do the impossible.

Changing Situations

I recently took a Productivity Assessment from Michael Hyatt, a NY Times Best-Selling author and former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing.  The result was that I am “The Circumstance Surfer.”

Right now, you’re facing challenges that come with a transition or a certain set of circumstances. You would love to be able to create a solid routine, but predictability is just not an option right now. So you ride the waves that come your way. You need something flexible, a way to keep the peace throughout all the chaos in the midst of your current circumstances.

This was interesting and insightful.  You can take the assessment at http://freetofocus.com/WLEAFS/2017assessment.

Currently, I wear a few hats:  Pastor, Writer, Speaker, Wedding Officiant, Counselor, Videographer, and Graphic Designer.  These are not subcategories of my role.  They are all separate categories for which I am hired currently.

I remember hearing Jim Collins talk about the importance of having a Not To DO List.  At the time, I had one job and I thought that it was pretty easy to identify the things I should not do.  Now that’s a bit more challenging to do.

It’s a New Day!

While I still reflect on principles I learned from Charles Hobbes decades ago, today’s challenges seem to call for new strategies and systems.  I participated in an online training this morning led by Michael Hyatt on The 7 Deadly Sins of Productivity: The Hidden Habits Undermining Your Performance (And How to Change Them).  

One of the many takeaways for me was the reminder of the importance of taking time to plan.  If we are faced with an overwhelming workload, we can be tempted to just dive in the deep end and start splashing around.  When I slow down long enough to get perspective, I still have a big workload but it may not be quite as overwhelming.  I can identify the top priority for that period of time.  I may also identify some parts of the load that could be done by others or maybe shouldn’t be done by anyone.  I can see Jim Collins smiling now.

You can sign up for Michael’s training here.

I enjoyed the training and found it helpful for dealing with the realities of being productive in today’s world.

Please let me know your thoughts and journey in the comments what works for you.  I will probably write more in the coming weeks.  This is a critical topic that impacts the time we have to spend with God, with our families and friends, and the time we have to enjoy life.

 

(Note: some of the links I share may include affiliate links to products or services that I have personally hand-picked to share with you here on Encourage and Equip.  If you are interested in those offers, using the links provided could result in a small income flow that helps offset the costs of maintaining the site.  Thank you.)

Kevin Cunningham

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Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Are You Free to Focus on What’s Truly Important? | Encourage and Equip . com - September 28, 2017

    […] If you’re not feeling as productive today as you did in the past, you’re not alone.  It’s a new day with distractions galore.  You may have read my article earlier this week in which I shared all the distractions that I dealt with (or tried to) while reading and writing about staying focused.  Whey Is Time Management So Elusive? […]