When you get right down to it, time management is really about managing your actions. We all want to use the process of time management to allow us to perform more actions in the day, getting everything done that needs to be done and giving us time to do the things we enjoy doing. But time management isn’t a magical cure for getting the actions done that you need to do. It’s simply a tool. A very powerful tool when used correctly, but still just a tool.
For example, you might learn all there is to know about time management – read countless books, listen to CDs, and maybe even attend a few training courses or seminars. But unless you take action to put what you have learned into practice, it will be time and money wasted. And wasting time, as we both know, is one of the worst things you can do.
On the other hand, perhaps you do decide to take some action, and start to do some of the things you have learned. But only half-heartedly. Maybe you create a to do list at the start of the day, but then never refer to it. Or you organize all your existing files, but just throw any new papers into a single pile. Or you do a few of the exercises you have learned, but never do anything with the results you come up with.
But perhaps the worst thing that can happen when using the tools time management offers is to follow the actions you have learned, refer to the information you write down, but then simply not get anything done. In the case of a to do list, perhaps you draw the list up for the day, then just procrastinate on tackling even the first task. You may not even do it consciously – looking back on the day, things just always seemed to “come up” (although if you are following good time management advice, that excuse shouldn’t apply any more!)
If this is happening, it is possible that the issue isn’t time management, but more an issue of motivation.
If the tasks are part of your job, perhaps the work no longer interests you and you need to find another area to work in. If the tasks are for yourself and are related to your personal goals, perhaps the goals you have set for yourself aren’t the correct goals for you? You may have written those goals down because you thought you should, but it’s not really what you want.
Of course it may just be that you didn’t realize you were procrastinating on doing the actions you needed to do, and that realization spurs you on to get everything done!
Ultimately, time management comes down to taking action and applying the methods you have learned to plan your activities, then taking action to do those activities in the most efficient way possible. Everyone can do it – even you!