For some of us, time management is a significant issue and is one more piece of a pattern that undermines self-confidence.
Over the years, it can contribute to feelings of low self-worth, anxiety and depression. Overwhelmed by chronic frustration caused by our own unreliability, some people even give up trying. We isolate from friends and family, leave good jobs that feel too demanding, and generally lower our own expectations of ourselves.
In Parts I & II of this series we talked about time estimation and time blindness. I offered some tools you can use to improve the former and overcome the latter.
And today I promised to tell you about the one thing you need to master for effective time management.
First, a question. If all of us have the same amount of time--24 hours in a day—how do some people seem to be able to pack so much more into that time? Like…
…And still finding time to watch a favorite show on Netflix??
They don’t have more time than you, so they must know something you don’t.
Here’s the one thing you need to understand: time management is really self-management in time. So, the answer is to stop trying to control something external (time) and instead focus on managing the internal (your actions as you move through time).
This is why just having a planner or Daytimer doesn’t work for a lot of people. Anyone can write down a to-do list. Following through is where people get hung up.
Following through requires self-regulation, which requires well-developed executive function skills like initiating, emotional control, self-monitoring, conscious focusing and task monitoring.
In addition, your ability to make decisions is vitally important in maximizing your ability to self-regulate in time. Take a student I’ll call Julie, for example. Julie has been trying to decide whether to add a screened-in porch to her house. She has met with several contractors, some of them repeatedly. She has reviewed her budget several times. She has researched alternatives. She has talked it over with others.
Basically, she has put hours and hours into the question, "Should I or shouldn't I?" Yet after all this time, she continues to put off a decision, and she feels as if she has spent a ton of time on the issue with nothing to show for it. Now she's frustrated over what she sees as poor time management. Worse, there is a cost to her procrastination, because the price of building materials has skyrocketed, and the contractors have had to raise their estimates substantially since they originally quoted her six months ago.
As you can see, there is a tangible cost to indecision and poor time management.
And is it just poor time management? Or is there something else going on?
If you guessed “something else,” give yourself a gold star. Julie’s conundrum has little to do with time management and a lot more to do with how she makes decisions.
Now do you want some good news? You are more than capable of developing the skills you need to help you manage yourself in all areas of your life. Including the multiple skill sets that go into time management and decision-making.
Over the last couple of days, I have shared information, tools and strategies that will get you started. But a far more effective approach involves following a comprehensive program of action that will address the root causes of time-management problems in the first place.
To learn about my specific time management methodology (with the added benefit of an online coaching forum), I offer a “Time Management Secrets” MasterClass.
It’s available as a stand-alone option, and right now it’s available as a core piece of the redesigned ADDventures in Achievement Foundational Skills Program.
I’ve added an extra month to the program so that we now start the program working the MasterClasses as a group. The other two MasterClasses are "Decision-Making Made Easy” and “Procrastination Banished!” Who wouldn’t benefit from learning those skills?
Enrollment for AIA-FS is closing on Friday, March 12th at 6pm PST. If you’re interested in more info, please visit: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/aia-march-enrollment
I sincerely hope this three-part series has shown you the importance of good time management skills. Helping people develop the skill sets they need to make life easier to navigate is my calling. And I know that people need a plan and accountability to succeed -- so if you want to see radical improvement, I’d love to work with you.