Project Management

4 Things You Thought Were True About Time Management

We all tell ourselves at least one of these comforting lies at work: I’ll get caught up next week. If I were allowed to do things differently, I could get ahead. If only I had time to plan my day right. Well, Amy Gallo writing for Harvard Business Review is here to dispel those desperate pleas to the void. The following are some tips about time management.

1 – Time can’t be “Managed”

Gallo says that “time management” is not a good label because it doesn’t accurately describe the real goal at hand. Oftentimes, time management is really just a matter of being selective about which tasks are allowed to become part of a specific workload. Now you may say, quite legitimately, that you have no control over your work load, and that your marching orders come from above. Even so, there is usually a built-in level of flexibility in how we go about ordering and prioritizing work.

2 – Finding the Right Method is an Experimental Process

Having the “right system” for managing time is different for different people, but it’s not entirely the wrong idea.

The key is to continually experiment with techniques. “Some things may or may not work in a particular context or situation,” says [productivity expert Jordan] Cohen. Try lots of different approaches — really try them. Don’t change the way you check email for a week and declare it a failure. Set metrics for measuring success, give the approach time, and consider involving someone else — your boss or a coworker — to help you evaluate whether it really worked.

3 – It’s the Little Changes that Count

The key is to make small changes every day. It’s true that certain work situations can be extreme. It may be that spending the better part of one’s vacation rethinking work strategy is an absolute necessity. There’s no doubt about it, avoiding stress is a powerful motivator.

4 – It’s All on You

In extreme cases, it may be necessary to push back against the culture responsible for work overload and time management crisis. However, before you consider starting an office insurrection over your tight schedule, consider talking to management first.

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