Why Time Management Doesn’t Work

Lately, it seems like everyone I talk to has a “Time Management” problem, but when I ask a few questions, it quickly becomes obvious (at least to me) that the problem isn’t Time Management. There is most certainly a lack of enough time for important activities, but it isn’t a result of bad time management.  The real problem is poor Self-Management, which I define as the process we use to prioritize things in our life and then allocate our time to our priorities.

Work on This First

There are all kinds of time management tips and techniques out there that can help you, but for any of them to work, the first thing you need to do is establish your Beliefs and Values. If you don’t have Beliefs and Values that support setting priorities that include your health and well-being, your family’s needs, as well as your business’s needs, then none of them will work.

Let Go of This Belief

You also need to let go of at least one belief that is so dangerous and self-limiting, that it leads to the most common cause of business failure – burnout.  This dangerous belief is the one that causes the most pain and suffering – the belief that if you were just better at managing your time you could get it all done. This is simply not true. If you’re growing a business, you’ll never run out of things to do, and that’s a good thing. Accept that fact that you will NEVER get to everything on your list. The key is to make sure you get to the right things.  When you get the right things done, many of the other items on your list fade away and don’t matter as much.

Look, if you haven’t gotten to item 45 on your list in the last 4 weeks, it obviously isn’t important.  Delete it from your list.

When was the last time you sat down and really prioritized your to-do list?  I mean, REALLY prioritized it.  Decided what was truly important and urgent, and what was simply nice to have? And if you have done that, did you actually believe yourself when you said what your priorities were and only work on the items at the top of the list?  Or did you go to the middle and do some things that made you temporarily feel good, and then ended up working late because you “ran out of time” again?

Why We Set Priorities We Don’t Really Believe In

So why do we do this…give a certain priority lip service, but our behavior gives it away that it really doesn’t matter to us?  Here are a few possibilities:

  • Lack of Clarity -You haven’t clearly defined your goals and what your end game is, and what your most important values are. Things may have changed and you haven’t gotten clear on what your new vision is. 
  • Lack of Boundaries – You try to do everything for everyone, and you let the world set priorities for you, instead of setting them for yourself.
  • Following the Bandwagon – You set priorities that other people say should be important, instead of what you really want.  

There may be other reasons too. Each person could have their own unique mental roadblocks they need to get past. 

If you are ready to explore your relationship with time (priorities), give me a shout and we can schedule a 30 minute chat about it.

Author: Mark McNulty, Business Coach in Louisville, KY

Why Time Management Doesn’t Work