One key reason most of us have so much trouble with "time management" is that it's called "time management" rather than "task management" or some other more accurate label. Manage time? Don't be silly. Time's a concept -- a measure of duration -- not an object that can be manipulated.
One issue I encountered frequently when I practiced as a psychotherapist is the need for redefinition and reframing of labels. Much research shows that what we call something affects not only what we think about it, but also what we can think about it. (Quick example: imagine just the emotional difference between calling a young animal a "dog" or calling it a "puppy.")
If we speak in terms of "time management,"
If we speak in terms of "task management,"
Using the time management concept leads to major mistakes in other useful ideas -- like "multi-tasking,"
Another confusion caused by thinking "time management" is unrealistic scheduling of tasks by "average completion time" or "optimal completion time" or "ideal completion time." While you can measure such durations to get a general idea of how long it should take you or your employees to accomplish various tasks, you will never know all conditions or events that will interfere with or even help with the actual performance. So you must think in terms of "task management" and schedule flexible start times and end times based on the most probable amount of productivity.
For example, you may know that it takes you 30 minutes on average to write a two-page sales report. Based on only that measure, you can't decide that your productivity should be 10 reports in a day, because you may not be able to produce at that intensity for five hours out of eight -- even if you aren't interrupted. And you will probably be interrupted many times, cutting into the time you've scheduled. If you think task rather than time, you'll count the number of reports you typically do in a day, rather than how long it takes to do them, and base your expectations on real history. If you want to increase your productivity, you'll look into ways of doing the reports more efficiently instead of merely more hurriedly.
The forgoing examples are merely two of the many problems caused by our mistaken notions of time management. It (as we've come to think of it) sets us up to hurry, worry and fail. Task management gives us leisure to find better ways and means of working.
Set yourself up for success. Think "task management."
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