Myth number 1: We can manage time.
We cannot manage time. Nor can we save it. Time ticks away relentlessly in spite of our efforts to control it. We are provided with 24 hours of time each day to use as we like. The key is in how we use that time. We can use it wisely, or we can waste it, but we can never save it. At the end of the day, it’s gone. Self-management would be a more accurate term than time management.
Myth number 2: Time management involves getting more done in less time.
Some people may still believe that, but effective time management refers to doing fewer things – things of greater importance – in the time that we have. We cannot possibly do everything we want to do, or all the things there are to do. But if we prioritize what there is to do, and focus on completing the priorities to the exclusion of everything else, we will be more effective.
Myth number 3: “To do” lists help get things done.
“To do” lists do nothing to further a project or task. They simply remind us that they are not done yet. Scheduling time in your planner, as appointments with yourself, to work on the tasks helps get them done. “To do” lists are intentions; scheduled blocks of time are commitments.
Myth number 4: People need an electronic organizer or smartphone get organized. People are not organized because they use a smartphone; they use a smartphone because they are organized. Personal organization includes breaking old habits and forming new, effective and efficient ones. It is a state of mind as opposed to a state of the office. For example, some people are more organized using a $2 steno pad than others are using a $200 electronic organizer. Organize before you speed up with technology or you will simply reach chaos quicker.
Myth number 5: A “Quiet Hour” is a great time management tool.
A “quiet hour” is an obsolete strategy from the past. We can reduce interruptions, but never eliminate them. To be effective we must learn to work in spite of the interruptions. Frequently, interruptions are not time wasters, but opportunities arriving at inopportune times. To be effective today, we have to strengthen our brain-based executive skills, particularly those that relate to sustained attention and focus. The battlefield has moved from the office to the brain. Increase your focus, sustained attention and working memory and you will experience fewer distractions.