Do you still have trouble fitting everything into your day? That’s seldom a problem for me anymore. I’m writing this to share with you why that is.
The term “time management” morphed from the work of Frederick Winslow Taylor. He published “The Principles of Scientific Management” in 1911. Those ideas continued into 1989 when Stephen Covey released his best-selling book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” which then gave way to various forms of appointment books and time managements systems.
The aisles of office supply stores were piled high with Covey’s products, as well as many knockoffs. Being the “pre-app” era, this merchandise helps hundreds of thousands of people to better organize their day, week, month, and year. I was one of those people. It got me through ministerial school and was a major reason for the success I experienced when I founded my first ministry in 1993.
But here’s why time management in general falls short. Instead of focusing on the task at hand it can give us a false sense of security to think we can get everything done on our to do list and meet with far more people than is physically possible. What doesn’t fall short?
I fault the 20th century time management systems for encouraging and perhaps causing the frustration, burnout, and mental health issues we can face when we try to multi-task our lives. Computers that were supposed to give us four-day workweeks (at least that’s what Captain Kangaroo said!), instead increased many day jobs to 50, 60, or more hours due to the immense amount of work that could be done with automation.
Conversely, choice management goes hand-in-hand with focus, the practice of mindfulness, and the ability to make conscious determinations about our life. We can have it all. We just can’t have it all at the same time. (Try being married and single simultaneously. I don’t recommend it.)
We are eternal beings. We had lives before this existence and will have others after this one as well. Even if you feel your life is a “once and done” ride, you’re still not going to enjoy each activity fully by only doing it to tick it off a list and then run to the next event, trip, activity, or relationship.
Take time today to consider what is important in your life. During this pandemic many of us have more time than ever at home, or without many of our usual obligations. CHOOSE to use this time wisely by deciding what (and who) is important in your life. Be willing to make the choice. We have freedom of choice, but not of consequence. Choose wisely and manage your choices with care.