In this ever more connected world, there is never really a time when we get way from our responsibilities. And the holiday season only makes it worst.
To combat this highly effective people use tools and strategies to manage their time. While time management is a very good thing, there are situations where people tend to take the whole idea of using time wisely to the extreme. When this happens, the essential goal of managing your time gets lost in all the busy-ness and drive to cram too much into too little time. As a result, the process of time management ceases to be a help and becomes a severe hindrance instead.
Here are the early warning signs that you are beginning to abuse time management rather than use it to best advantage:
Do You Multitask All The Time?
In today’s world, it is not unusual for people to handle more than one task at a time. This is perfectly all right, as long as the tasks in question can be conducted concurrently without causing a great deal of stress. For example, it is possible to participate on a conference call while also sending instant messages to the moderator of the conference. The two activities actually work together without any real difficulty. (However only when it is relevant to the call, not gossip… you know who you are)
However, many people attempt to conduct two or more labor-intensive tasks at the same time. This can lead to a great deal of inner conflict and possibly have a negative impact on the quality applied to all the tasks involved. (Hitting “reply all” when you meant for a private response for example). In other words, instead of ending up with one task done well, you have two tasks that may be completed but are barely acceptable.
Some people find themselves unable to stop multitasking even when it is not necessary. The idea behind this approach is that the multitasking will make it easier to finish all the action items currently on the agenda and enjoy some well-earned downtime. Unfortunately, people who have become obsessed with multitasking in order to manage their time never get around to having any downtime. Instead, they finish one set of projects and immediately start looking for another set to do at once.
Multitasking as part of time management is fine, provided the tool is used with wisdom and discretion. When it becomes an end in and of itself rather than a means to reach a goal, it is time to step back and re-evaluate the situation.
Do You Feel Guilty If You Are Not Doing Something?
The church or parents and authority figure in general have utilized guilt all our lives. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. Guilt can be an effective tool when it comes to keeping us on track. However, guilty feelings when there is nothing to feel guilty about is another matter altogether. When guilt creeps into the time management process, it is usually an indicator that the individual has begun to believe on some level that unless they are not actively engaged in some task, they are not managing their time well.
While it is important to take care of necessary tasks in a timely manner, human beings also need some time to simply relax and recharge. From this perspective, failing to include time for rest and recreation is actually a breach of good time management policies. By denying your mind and your body of what it needs to be healthy, you are actually defeating the purpose of time management, and setting yourself up for a fall.
Are You Hyper-Critical Of Others Who Do Not Do As You Do?
You’ve got it all figured out, so why don’t people simply follow your example? Many people validate their actions is by comparing them with what other people do. After all, if others are employing the same approaches and methodologies to time management that we are, that means we are on the right track. However, when people do things differently from us and we immediately assume they are wrong and we are right, something has gone terribly awry with our sense of time management.
However, we need to respect that everyone is unique. Every person brings different talents and abilities to a given task. This means there may in fact be more than one right approach when tackling the same tasks or projects. People who have a balanced view of time management realize this and may even welcome the opportunity to learn something new. However, people who assume their way is the only right way will immediately be on the defensive and find fault with as many aspects of the alternative method as possible.
Again, this negative point of view is not in keeping with true time management principles. Not only does this mindset make it impossible to be exposed to new ways of managing tasks and possibly saving time, it also can create a great deal of stress and friction for everyone concerned. As a result, everyone’s ability to manage time effectively is impaired and no one progresses as quickly as they would if all parties would attempt to learn from one another.
The bottom line is that you can become so obsessed with time management that you actually begin to undo any good you’ve created and put yourself in a position where you are more likely to fail. When this happens, you may be worse off than when you didn’t attempt any type of structured time management at all. If you have some time over the holidays for self-reflection, it would be worth your time to evaluate your approach to time management.