Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Myth of Time Management

We talk about time management as though it's something real, like the stock market or the events on the evening news. However, the idea that we can manage time is much more ephemeral, like economic sustainability or world peace. It's like something out of a fairy tale--not Cinderella's glass slipper but her carriage and the rest of her outfit that disappeared at the stroke of midnight.
We can't manage time. We are only in control of how we spend our time, only in control of our tasks and expectations. To speak of time management gives the illusion we could have accomplished more if only we tried harder.
It is true that we can complete more tasks if we eliminate the avoidance tactics we sometimes use when we procrastinate. It's also true that the more organized we are the more we can accomplish in the time we have. Still, time is finite as we measure it. No matter how efficient we are, we have limits as to what we can accomplish. Beyond a certain point, we can't get more done. We can only choose a different set of tasks to complete.
You can manage your tasks, your expectations, and your attitude, but, alas, you cannot manage time itself.