If you were to Google “time management tips” you’ll come across 4 BILLION results.
And a lot of those tips include things like:
- Learn to say no.
- Use a calendar.
- Value your time.
- Use your time for things that are worth it.
- We all have the same amount of time in a day.
- Stop making excuses.
- Take breaks.
- Use productivity tools.
- Sleep well.
Blah blah blah.
I don’t say that to say those tips are wrong, or to say they’re not effective.
Nope, but I do say it to say this:
The real problem and solution to time management is a LOT simpler than it seems.
The above tips and other time management tips sprinkled across the internet, is only useful after this 1 problem is solved.
Without solving it, you’ll always believe there isn’t enough time in a day to do the things you have “no” time to do.
Or at least – the things you “think” you have no time for.
That problem and solution?
1. Self Awareness
“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.” — Abraham Maslow
The real issue with time management isn’t how many hours you work.
It’s not how much time you’re convinced you have left in a day.
It’s not how many hours you spend in front of a TV.
It’s not how much self discipline you possess or what productivity tools you use.
And it’s not because of circumstances regardless of what you believe.
Before anything else – It’s one thing and one thing only.
It’s self awareness.
- If you’re unaware of how much time you’re spending in 24 hours, that’s a self awareness problem. NOT a “time” problem.
- If you watch an absurd amount of TV, and don’t realize how much time you spent in front of it, self awareness is your problem. NOT time itself.
- If you struggle to “find the time” for things you want to do, that’s not a time problem, it’s a self awareness problem.
So the real key to time management is to first be self aware.
If you’re not self aware, you won’t know what it is you’re tackling and dealing with.
“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” – Ralph Ellison
- Ask yourself questions.
- Track your time with an app like aTimeLogger or Rescue Time.
- Monitor your actions.
aTimeLogger by itself should be enough get you started. You can manually track every type of activity you do throughout the day.
You’ve just got to get in the habit of hitting the trigger that starts it off.
Rescue Time is more for internet and mobile use. I
t’ll automatically track every site or app you use, and even the length of your phone calls. Then it’ll mark each activity as either productive or distracting.
Or you can use a plain old clock on your smartphone and hit “GO” for any activity you do throughout the day.
You’d be surprised how much time you spend on the things that are both productive (and unproductive).
It’s a real eye opener to be aware of where your time is being spent, and how you can make the right changes to create more time for yourself.