When it comes to time management, there is a common misconception. The misconception is that time management is about getting more done. It’s about how to squeeze more things into your day. In this view, the more you get done, the better.
This view, however, will only lead you to become overwhelmed and even burnt out. Plus, it’s possible that the things you get done are not the important ones.
What is the right view then? How should we approach time management?
A while back I listened to a leadership podcast by Craig Groeschel. He made two statements that I think give us the answer:
- “Wise time management is not about doing more. It’s about doing more of what matter most.”
- “To be effective, you don’t do more. You do less better.”
In my opinion, these two statements give us the right view on time management. Time management is not about getting more done. Instead, it’s about getting the right things done in a better way.
If you apply this principle, you won’t get overwhelmed. Instead, you will live a balanced life while still getting the important things done. You will be productive in a balanced way.
Here are four things you need to do to put this principle into action:
1. Know your purpose.
To get the right things done, you need to know what the right things are. This requires you to know your purpose. What are the things that matter to you? How do you define long-term success? Only by knowing these can you decide whether something is right for you. Knowing your purpose can also help you avoid lifetime regrets.
2. Get rid of the wrong things.
To get the right things done, you need to get rid of the wrong things. This means you need to say no to them. The wrong thing here could be an activity, a responsibility, or even your job. In short, it’s anything that doesn’t serve your purpose.
You might not be able to get rid of it right away (e.g. your job), but at least you can plan to do it over time (e.g. by searching for a new job or starting your own business).
3. Have a margin.
This is related to the previous point. To not get overwhelmed, it’s important that you have a margin in your life. The margin acts as a buffer so that when something goes wrong, you have the capacity to handle it without being stressed out.
The margin here is in the form of emotional, physical, financial, and time reserves.
4. Improve yourself.
These four tips are simple, but if you do them, you will be productive in a balanced way. You will get the few important things done, and done well.