Do you always feel like you have enough hours in the day to get everything done? Do you always finish your entire “to do” list everyday? Most of us answer “no” to both questions. Why is that? It’s because good time management skills require habit changes and self-discipline that most of us haven’t been willing to accept.
The starting point of developing good time management skills is for you to realize that time management is really life management. It is the way in which you take care of your most precious gift.
Time management may also be looked upon as a vehicle that can carry you from wherever you are to wherever you want to go. Time management can be seen as a set of personal disciplines that, once mastered, will enable you to be, have and do anything you want or need to achieve whatever successes in life give you the greatest pleasure, happiness and ultimate success.
The quality of your life is largely determined by the quality of your time management. The better and more effective you are at managing the minutes and hours of your day, which are the building blocks of your life, the more you will get more done, and of a higher quality. You will enjoy higher levels of self-esteem and self-respect. You will have a greater sense of personal pride and ultimately be more accomplished and successful.
Time management behaviors are very much a matter of choice. You choose to be efficient or you choose to be disorganized. You choose to focus and concentrate on your highest-value tasks, or you choose to spend your time on activities that contribute little value to your life or work. And you are always free to choose.
If everyone agrees that excellent time management is a desirable skill, why is it that so few people can be described as “well organized, effective and efficient?” There are three perceived mental barriers to utilizing time management tools include:
1. You Will Decrease Your Naturalness and Spontaneity
The first myth of time management, or negative belief, is that if you are too well organized, you become cold, calculating and unemotional. If you are extremely effective and efficient, some people feel that they will lose their spontaneity and freedom. They will become unable to “go with the flow,” to express themselves openly and honestly. People think that managing your time well makes you too rigid and inflexible.
This turns out not to be true at all. Many people hide behind this false idea and use it as an excuse for not disciplining themselves the way they know they should. The fact is that people who are disorganized are not spontaneous; they are merely confused, and often frantic. Often they suffer a good deal of stress. It turns out that the better organized you are, the more time and opportunity you have to be truly relaxed, truly spontaneous, and truly happy. You have a much greater internal locus of control.
2. Negative Mental Programming
The second mental barrier to developing excellent time management skills is negative programming, often from your parents, but also from other influential people, when you are growing up. If your parents or others told you that you were a messy person, or that you were always late, or that you never finished anything you started, when you become an adult, you may still be operating unconsciously to obey these earlier commands.
The most common excuse is “That’s just the way I am,” or “I have always been that way.” The fact is that no one is born either messy and disorganized, or neat and efficient. Time management and personal efficiency skills are disciplines that we learn and develop with practice and repetition. If we have developed bad time management habits, we can unlearn them. We can replace them with good habits over time.
3. Self Limiting Beliefs
A third mental barrier to good time management skills is a negative self- concept or what are called, “self-limiting beliefs.” Many people believe that they don’t have the ability to be good at time management. They often believe that it is an inborn part of their background or heritage. But there is no gene or chromosome for poor time management, or good time management, for that matter. Nobody is born with a genetic deficiency in personal organization. Your personal behaviors are very much under your own control.
The two first steps to being really effective at time management are to understand why it is important to you and to identify your key goals. Most of the time management strategies that I will share with you next week include elements of prioritization. If you are unclear on what you are trying to accomplish and why it becomes very difficult to assess which items on your list are the priority.