The Myth of Time Management

Time Management! We have all grown up hearing this term, haven’t we? “𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦.” “𝘛𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘢𝘨𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘬𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘢 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘯𝘦𝘹𝘵 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯.”

Time Management is one piece of advice that everyone loves to dole out. Despite the Internet overflowing with resources that share tips, tricks, and principles about time management (10.31B resources when I ran a Google search this morning) why are we still challenged by this issue? Why do you think that is?

Credits: Google Search

The secret answer lies in our evolution. Your brain’s #1 priority is not your happiness, it is your survival and safety. Even though we are no longer living in the era of sabered-toothed tigers and tribe hostilities, your brain still focuses on survival and safety. Anything and everything that breaches your zone of safety is rejected by your brain!

And so is the case with Time Management. In literal terms, Time Management would be interpreted as “management of time.” Our subconscious brain comprehends this term literally as “management of time,” something that we will manage, something that is external to us. But, the term is a misnomer. Every article or book or podcast you pick up on time management does not talk about managing time. They all talk about how you can better manage your tasks and priorities within the time you have. That’s an alarm for your brain – we are no longer talking about managing something that’s external to us. We have been deceived by this article. It is talking about changing us!!! And your brain does not like that. Remember, safety and survival?

My two cents on Time Management: Completely drop this term from your vocabulary. Don’t use it nor give advice about it to anybody (using the words ‘time management’) As you have seen, it does not work that way. Instead, start thinking of time in terms of allocation, energy, and value.

Allocation: Each one of us has the exact same amount of time each day. Whether you live in Tokyo or Texas, we all have been allotted days with only twenty-four hours. Ask yourself, how do you allocate yourself to the time you have? Are you a Yes-man? Are you a people-pleaser? Do you find that your to-do list never ends? Or, do you prefer to work based on random or chaotic feelings?

Energy: Your productivity and focus levels are eventually determined by the energy you have. Recognize whether you are building or sucking up your energy. Ask yourself, what am I doing to replenish my energy and optimize my energy levels on a daily basis? (Read: https://sanketpai.com/2021/04/26/how-to-manage-your-energy-like-a-ceo/)

Value: Like allocation and energy, time is also value. We say money is value. I say, money only supports life. If you want to make a million dollars, put your attention on creating millions of dollars of value for others. Build a value-driven and long-term mindset. At the same time, calculate your current hourly rate. Say, for example, you currently earn INR 75,000/month, and you work approx 22 days a month with 9 hours per day. This comes to roughly around INR 380 per hour. This is your current hourly rate. Now, applying the value-driven and long-term mindset, 10x this number. Let’s at least 5x for now. That works out to around INR 1,900 per hour. Start meticulously prioritizing your activities and attention on the tasks that create value of at least INR 1,900 per hour. Remember, a goal is a place to come from, not a place to get to! Ask yourself, did I do my best to create value in the time I had today?

Use this holistic and balanced system for self-expansion and growth, instead of focusing on time management. Start looking at time through the lens of allocation, energy, and value.

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