Why time management doesn’t work for the talented.

Without a doubt time is our most precious resource. Money cannot buy a second of it back. Little wonder that time management has become so important to the majority of us.

Today’s topic is a diversion from my ordinarily more serious and entrepreneurial tone.
The talented underachiever often finds time management difficult. I may not be numbered among this group but I definitely struggle with the productive use of my time and in the spirit of opening a dialogue I thought I might share a few thoughts on the subject.

I submit that the conventional approach to time management is all wrong, especially when it is applied to the very creative or the otherwise especially talented. I further proffer that the conventional approach when applied to the categories of those aforementioned generally leads inevitably not only to lowered performance and achievement, but a sense of  malcontent that further exacerbates the performance problems one tried to address by adopting a time management system in the first place.

“How can this be?”, ask you my dear reader.

The majority of time management systems express implied bias towards maximizing the efficient use of your time. This efficient use invariably can be reduced to maximizing the number of tasks one can accomplish in a day, from walking your dog to your daily exercise routine, work tasks, family and relaxation time, and finally the extremely important task of sleep.

The majority of us, as neophytes to time management apps, tend to overestimate the amount of things we can do in the ideal task structure that the majority of tools present us with. Although i acknowledge that with the continuous and disciplined use of our time management tools we may one day develop those skills necessary to make better planning decisions, the combination of the initial learning curve combined with the disappointment that follows in the first few weeks of consistently missing our self-inflicted productivity targets is usually sufficient to immolate any future efforts to use these tools while further reinforcing the often misguided sentiments of under achievement that many of the most talented carry within us unto death.

 But then you ask, gentle reader, why am I not preaching diligence and perseverance in the use of a written or digital task master?
 The flippant response is that this particular musing is more about maintenance of your status as an underachiever and as such is meant simply to explain why under achievement in this aspect of your life is completely reasonable and normal.
 But the deeper issue may simply be that detailing a number of tasks fails to account for how important those tasks are to you.
The above is different from saying what tasks should be important to you. That is what we tend to do when we sit down and plan our days…we detail tasks that should be important to us but are not necessarily. Consequently often times we make excuses about how “the day got away from us” because we allow those unplanned events to derail us from the list of things we had planned. The discipline and perseverance required is not in the use of the tool but in sticking to the plan when life’s inevitable events occur.

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