Managing Time or Managing Yourself?

Time is a precious, golden resource and it surely needs to be managed wisely.

However, most of time management techniques revolve around setting aside - or blocking, as they say - slots of this precious resource in order to dedicate it entirely to one single purpose. Theoretically, this is a greatly effective approach and it would work wonders, if only it was a little bit more compatible with the everyday life of companies, teams, organisations and up to individuals who own responsibility over differentiated things.

However, it is very rare that, as professionals, we get to completely focus on one thing at a time. Interruptions, questions that need answers, priorities taking over and other niceties of this kind are always around the corner in a real office.

And for this reason, blocking out slots of time can be often quite incompatible with our schedule and our environment. Therefore, unless you plan on starting a freelancing career anytime soon, you'd better be aware that instead of managing time you should prioritize managing yourself well enough, in any situation.

You are effectively managing yourself when you start to:

  • Be responsible for yourself

    Ownership is key: own your to do's, own your steps, own your troubles. And get them all sorted.

  • Get back to focus quickly after an inevitable interruption

    You find your personal focus trigger and you learn how to leverage it.

  • Be flexible whilst being determined

    You deal with whatever, but you always know exactly where you're heading and what's the bigger purpose.

Time Management only works if you manage yourself first

It's impossible to live and work on solely your own terms, so even the best refined time management technique has to deal with the pressure of the outside world. For this reason, when you work on projects and you are responsible of being one unit inside a whole team, you need to be ready to do some self-management in order to keep the flow going and actually get something done.

If you wait for the world to stand still while you complete the two hours that you've previously blocked out for a specific task, you may be up for disappointment.

A Client may call you for an urgent feedback, colleagues may stop by your desk and ask for something, the only door of your open-space office can spring open at any time and let in the receptionist holding a huge package for you. In all these occasions, if you rely only on your time management techniques, you may stumble a little bit. By managing yourself, instead, you know what's important for you and you always know how to get back to it, without the slight rush of panic/frustration that rises when omg-how-dare-they-ignore-my-perfect-schedule!

Category:

business gems

Time to Read:

5 min