Is Your Time Management Stressing You Out?

People are stressed.

Work. Family. Kids. Friends. Extracurricular. Community. And more…

Sometimes it seems like too much.

However, the only thing that stresses people more than their work… is keeping up with their work.

Does your time management stress you out?

Structure or Stress?

I often see people whose organization (or attempt thereof) has taken over their lives.

They spend more time trying to be organized than they do being organized.

“The best time management system is the one that you forget about.

It becomes effortless and part of your daily activities and habits.”

Time management is supposed to simplify our lives.

Yet, many people cite their time management as a part of their stress.

Too Much Organization

Too much extra effort… too many tools… too much planning.

Is your time management too complicated?

  • Too Much Effort – Does your system take so much extra effort that it becomes a chore in itself?
  • Apps With Too Many Features – If it takes you 17 steps to record a task, that is too much. You have seen the apps that have more options than the control panel of a commercial airliner.
  • Systems That Are Too Complex – Some of the most popular time management systems are so complex, they require a flowchart to explain. And then, I constantly read about people “falling off the wagon,” only to try and get back on. Simply put, they are non-sustainable.
  • Techniques That Are Not Life Oriented – Time management should fit into our daily lives. After all, that is what it is truly about: life management. Yet, many tools and systems are not flexible enough to be used in our work and home lives.
  • Busy But Not Productive – If your system is all about getting everything done, instead of the important, then you will find yourself burnt out. Endlessly spinning your wheels trying to accomplish things that may not have been worth doing in the first place.

Effortless Time Management

Your time management should be effortless.

It should ease your burden, not make it worse.

Time management should be a part of your life, not something you have to constantly get back on track.

Question: Is your time management system part of the solution or has it only added to the problem? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • adycoles

    @TMNinja hell, yes!

  • beekinleadman

    Do you have examples of tools that are NOT too complicated (by your definition) yet not as burdensome to carry around like a pile of notebooks of information?

    • TMNinja

       @beekinleadman Sure! Search around on my site and you will find plenty!
       
      Some of my favs: Wunderlist, Evernote, Dropbox, Reeder. 🙂

  • LauraP

    I completely agree! I’ve been using workflowy.com to organize my brain and tasks, and have found it a really simple online notepad.

    • TMNinja

       @LauraP Laura… I love workflowy! (Waiting for the iPad app…)
       

  • egratto

    @TMNinja You make great points, but what are your concrete solutions to *solving* that problem? Just identifying it doesn’t lessen stress.

  • This totally makes sense. A lot of times people are looking to follow the system that’s famous or the system they think everyone else uses – rather than doing what works best for them.
    Yet at the same time, it does take an investment of time on the front end to learn how to use tools effectively. What are your thoughts on balancing those two ideas?

    • TMNinja

       @Loren Pinilis Yes, there is a balance.
       
      My perspective is that you should go with the simplest solution that works for you.
       
      I am big on simple solutions vs. big complex systems that are so detailed that they are not sustainable. 
       
      A few of the bigger systems out there are so cumbersome that there are articles written about how to “get back on the bandwagon.” 
       
      Bigger, more features, and more complex does not necessarily mean success when it comes to time management. 🙂

  • SkillPath

    RT @TMNinja: Spending more time keeping up than doing your work? Read: “Is Your Time Management Stressing You Out?” http://t.co/sABaoRQX

  • TimoKiander

    Craig,
     
    No matter what the system is, you are still the one who adapts it to your personal needs.
     
    If one part of the system doesn’t resonate with you (even after testing it out), then you can decide not to use it and you can replace it with your way.
     
    My own system comes from experimenting things and trying different systems – and then taking the best parts of the system for my own use.
     
    Cheers,
    Timo

    • TMNinja

       @TimoKiander Yes, you have to adapt it to your needs… and my favorite “Choose Tools That You’ll Use.”
       
      Each person has to find the methods that work for them.

  • I’m not really sure. I get all my tasks written down, and I use Things to sync all my devices, but I keep adding too many tasks every single day. This way, I almost never manage to do them all, and that’s something I’ve been thinking to change. I want to just add 3 tasks a day, and that’s it, but I keep adding small very detailed tasks, just in order to remember tham, and my daily to-do list is very long 🙂

    • TMNinja

       @Jens Good thoughts. 
       
      Been thinking about taming the endless todo list. May have to explore this in more depth.
       
      I try to “clean up” my todo list at least daily. I often find that there are several items that I added, that are no longer needed or a priority.
       
      I am for adding even the small detail tasks. Keeps me from forgetting the small things. And if I had already remembered them… then I can just mark them off. 🙂

  • I agree with everything you say – and also with Jens who wants to be more selective with his list.  Personally, although I love the apps ‘n’ all that, I still find you can’t beat the good old paper diary (date book for Americans?) Mine has shrunk over the years.  I’m down to the pocket sized one this year.  Of course, it only works if you actually write in it…. which I failed to do once last week . Ouch!

    • TMNinja

       @carefulkaty Great point… you have to USE it! 🙂

  • Neiluyotsiytxw

    @TMNinja This looks great @ipaddep

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  • Alminder

    Effortless Time Management seems more like a vision rather than an existing product. At least that’s what we thought when we started developing our Smart Calendar NeverLate. We shared one problem: We used various calendars to keep track of events. We checked travel times with maps services and we used LinkedIn to get updates about the people we met with. Talking to countless business professionals we found that we were not alone wishing that this information could be automatically collected and be made accessible in one single place. So we created an app that bundles all event details. It allows you to attach Evernote notes to meetings and makes contact data of meeting attendees easily accessible. Additionally NeverLate will notify you right on time when you have to leave. No more late reminders and no more unexpected traffic. Check out NeverLate and tell us what you think.

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