Decode Your Time Management Talk
Over the years, “I have problems with time management,” is a phrase that I’ve heard probably more than any other. Students, corporate professionals, entrepreneurs, and even parents complain that they have many more tasks than available hours. And it is true that learning to effectively get everything done, or when to drop items off your to-do list, is a real challenge in modern life. However, sometimes we need to look between the lines and behind the automatic excuses if we want to really solve our time management problems.
Starting a new class, project, or job with “I struggle with time management” is sometimes code for other things like:
· I’m unsure of my abilities
· I’m over committed and afraid to say so
· This project isn’t my top priority, so I need to lower expectations right off the bat
Maybe you have struggled with time management in the past, but don’t start new situations by attaching a negative label to yourself.
Phrases like, “I’m swamped” or “it’s crazy busy around here” might have less to do with your actual time issues and instead be a plea for recognition, understanding, sympathy or praise. Declaring yourself to be busy is a complex social reality.
Before you start declaring your shortcomings around handling time and workload, stop and reconsider. What’s the message you are really sending? Having trouble with time management is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is NOT a permanent state of being. Don’t label yourself this way, and don’t take the risk that what your colleagues and clients hear is just an excuse for poor performance.
I’ll be delving into this in more detail in my upcoming book, The Solo Workday: Manage your time and get more clients while working alone.