Time management is not a skill, but an attitude
Time management is a myth, but you can still manage it, so say Peter Koijen and Ligia Ramos from In2Motivation, an Amsterdam-based personal and professional development company.
Tick tock, tick tock. This sound, if only existing in your imagination, can create stress or even anxiety. And the most relevant thing is that this "tick tock", or time, does not even exist!
Some people will always be late, some people will always be on time, some people will always be early and others will disregard time completely. Time is a measurement created by humans. And we can easily understand the positive aspects of the use of this measurement, right? Yet it can bring forth so many different emotions.
If time is a measurement, how can it be different for each person?
If you compare time with other measurements used by humans, you will soon realise that time is not different from all the others. For some people, 5kg is really heavy, yet for others, it is very light. For some people, 10 km is a long distance, while others run that distance every day. People have a personal perspective when it comes to measurements created to establish some equality in society.
So, while one hour will always be 60 minutes, every person will have an emotion or feeling about these 60 minutes. The good news is that because you have a personal perspective concerning time, you can easily influence the way you deal with it, because you are only dependent on yourself.
Your beliefs about time
“Time goes fast”, “time flies”, “one day only has 24 hours”, “every second counts", “time is precious”, etc. Each different belief provides you with a different behavioural pattern and a different emotional state. Ask yourself what sentences define your mindset about time, and if they are not helping you, change them!
Create your own tools
Just like how our perspective on time is not the same, not every tool will work for every person. If you are an “explorer”, it means that you like change and new challenges. It also means that you can lose focus fast. If this is you, having a monthly agenda will probably not be the best solution. Instead, create a daily task-oriented list with very clear “to-do” alarms.
If you have a more goal-oriented mindset, it will probably be useful to create "empty" moments so you don't forget that life is more than getting things done fast. Be aware of what your challenge is in relation to time and develop your own way to overcome it. It is always better to develop your own system and pay attention to external feedback to see if it is working.
Multitasking is not for you
This is the biggest lie of modern times: the idea that we can do more than one thing at the same time. In high-level sports competitions, it is very common for the coach to say: “From the moment you start to think, you lose.” The preparatory work is to create a routine of movements and behaviours that is automatically repeated at the moment of performance. If you involve thinking and execution, the result will always be affected.
The attention span of human beings is very limited and means that we can only do one thing at a time. So, it is very important to create a schedule with a time frame for each activity, more so than a to-do list. Having a schedule means that you know how much time you will dedicate to each subject and when to let go of it once the time has elapsed.
If for some reason you cannot let go: do it! Otherwise, you will not be able to achieve a high level of performance.
Time management is not a skill, it is an attitude!
Co-authors Peter Koijen and Ligia Ramos are life coaches and motivational speakers at In2Motivation, offering personal and professional training courses to optimise individual and group motivation and performance.