Time Management is Not a Light Switch

Do you turn on your time management when you are in a jam?

Only to turn it back off once it is the weekend or when you are past the obstacle?

Just like cramming for a test. This method is not very effective.

You squeeze all your time management into a day and then expect your life to flow smoothly.

Time Management is Not a Light Switch

Time management is not something that you can simply turn on and off. It is not a quick fix.

Too many people try to use it that way. They think, “I’ll turn it on when I need to and then slack off, later.”

Unfortunately, this technique does not work very well. Instead, people find themselves constantly climbing back on the time management bandwagon.

Some reasons why people try to turn their time management on and off:

  • It Is Too Complex – Many people find that their time management system is simply too complex. It is not sustainable to use on a daily basis. They find themselves quickly foregoing the complex methods because they take more time than they alleviate.
  • It Is Not Life Oriented – If your system does not cover the needs of your day-to-day activities, you will quickly stop using it. Many people will try to use an incomplete system. They quickly give it up because it is “not working.”
  • Not Tools They Will Use – Often people try to jump on the latest craze without considering if the tools are ones that they will use. Why buy the latest smartphone if you are better with a paper-based solution? It is important to pick tools that you are good with and enjoy using. Otherwise, they will end up on a shelf or in a drawer.

It Is Easier With a Steady Pull

Have you ever tried to pull a heavy load? Whether by hand or with a vehicle?

If you try to move it by sudden pulls or jerks, it doesn’t work too well. You may get it moving, but it will be haphazard and out of control.

Instead, a steady strain or pull is the most effective and controlled way. (It also takes less effort!) This is why you are better keeping your time management techniques always working for you.

Reasons why you should leave your time management on:

  • The Steady Pull – An even steady pull is much easier to bear and allows you to be more productive. Starting and stopping your productivity efforts only creates more work for yourself.
  • Habits vs. Extra Effort – If you make time management part of your habits, the effort disappears and time management simply becomes part of your lifestyle. If you try to “turn it on” only once in a while, it becomes an extra effort that you must bear.
  • It is a Skill – Time management is a skill that you must hone just like any other. It takes practice and experience like other skills and activities. The more you do it, the better you will be at it.
  • Myth of the Crisis – People tend to think they only need time management in a jam. But, the truth is that you need it just as much when you are not in a crisis. It is proactive action that prevents the problems in the first place.

Time management is really life management. You can’t turn it on and off and expect results.

Instead, keep your time management “on” at all times. You will find that it results in reduced effort and that the skills will become part of your normal lifestyle.

Do you keep your time management “on” at all times? Is it a lifestyle for you?

Related Posts:

5 Ways Your Time Management is Broken

Taking Time to Make Time

Why Complex Time Management Systems Fail?

7 thoughts on “Time Management is Not a Light Switch

  1. I like that you point out that time management is a habit. This is so true.

    For some, it's just part of who they are.

    I have a staff member whose daughter is 13 and has time management skills beyond her years. She's an honor roll student at a college prep middle school. She plays competitive soccer and travels most weekends. She is popular and has a ton of friends. And she handles everything on her own. Her mother doesn't have to tell her to do homework or that's time for soccer training. She isn't up all hours of the night. She just knows how to manager her time and do what needs to be done.

    While I'm sure some of this was learn from her parents, who are also good time management people, I think some of it is that she just *gets* it.

    Can time management be learned? Of course it can! I think it's just easier for some than others.

  2. Agreed!

    Always interesting when I see people think that can just start and stop when they need it. Much easier and more effective to do it on a regular basis. 🙂

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