6 Bald Faced Time Management Lies We Tell Ourselves Every Day

“Everything requires time. It is the only truly universal condition.

All work takes place in time and uses up time.

Yet most people take for granted this unique, irreplaceable, and necessary resource. Nothing else, perhaps, distinguishes effective executives as much as their tender loving care of time.”

– Peter F. Drucker

Time is the most valuable resource we have – and yet we often squander it by making small mistakes, and telling lies to ourselves.

In my years mentoring and coaching, here are six of the biggest time management lies I’ve found.

Lie #1 I Have Time To Do Everything

Fact: There isn’t enough time in the day to do everything.

No matter how much we finish today, no matter how productive or efficient we are – we can only accomplish a limited amount of things and have a limited number of experiences every day.

Rather than trying to go in a million different directions every day, it’s better to pick a reasonable number of things we can do well – and enjoy.

Lie #2 This Will Just Take a Minute

Fact: Nothing ever takes just a minute….

And even if it does, I’ve seen estimates that say an interruption can cost you anywhere from fifteen to forty five minutes.

One lie we tell ourselves every day is how we can squeeze little things in here and there because they’ll take “just a minute”

Lie #3 It’s Faster/Better If I Just Do It Myself

Fact:  This is almost always a lie.   Properly trained, an assistant can be more effective at a specific task than you ever were.   Even more important though, is it’s not about today: even if you are better than your assistant today, you may spend only a few hours a week on certain tasks.

Suppose you hire somebody part time, like someone to handle your accounting, and they might be honing that same skill for forty to sixty hours a week – with your tasks only a small part of their overall work.  They will absolutely outperform you in that skill in the long run, if they don’t already.

Lie #4 I Just Don’t Have Time

Fact: We all have the same amount of time.

When you don’t have time to do something, it’s usually a problem of

  • Over committing (having too many things on your plate)
  • Wasting too much time.

Instead of saying “I don’t have time” – try saying “it’s just not a priority” – because that’s the truth.  As Gandhi said: Action express priorities.

Lie #5 I  Just Need To Find The Right System

Fact: No time management/productivity system will be able to give you infinite time every day if the problem is ineffective follow through on tasks, or simply having way too much on your plate.

Of course, if you have a productivity system that’s not working for you, but that you’re still spending time maintaining – that’s going to cause more time management problems than it solves.

Really, ultimately I don’t think it’s about the system – it’s about habits that encourage productivity.

That’s what I teach you in The Action Solution – when you put it all together certainly it’s comprehensive, but all along the way we change your underlying habits so that the changes actually stick

Lie #6 I Can Manage Time

Fact: This is the biggest time management lie of them all.

The truth is, we can’t manage time – we can only manage our own use of it and how we spend it.

We cannot manage, save or otherwise control time.

As Stephen Covey put it:

“Time management’ is really a misnomer – the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves.The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. “

Start Managing Yourself – Today

Here’s what to do now.

Do you feel like you need more time? Do you find one of the actions above speak to you?

Don’t let this moment slip!

Start taking action today.

Whichever action jumped out at you, if you noticed something you could use right now in your life – take advantage of this moment of inspiration and turn it into action.

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