I think we can all agree that time management is a very good thing, however, there are situations where people tend to take the whole idea of using their time wisely to the extreme. When this happens, the crucial goal of managing your time gets lost in “the busy” and the drive to cram too much into too little time. When it gets to this point, the process of managing your time ceases to be a help and becomes a burden instead. It may be that you can become obsessed with managing your time!
There are several early warning signs that you are may be on the edge of abusing time management rather than use it to your best advantage:
Multitasking is your thing
In today’s world, as women we tend to pride ourselves at being able to multitask our way through the day. It’s not unusual for us to handle more than two or more tasks at a time, and we start to do this without thinking. If the tasks in question can be conducted concurrently without causing a great deal of stress we tend to overlook what’s really going on and work on autopilot by dividing our focus and our talent to get through the day. How often, for example, do we participate on a webinar or conference call while also sending instant messages and email to keep things flowing? Ok, two activities can actually work together without any real difficulty.
Things can get tricky when you attempt to take on two or more labor-intensive tasks at the same time, however. This can lead to a great deal of inner conflict and possibly have a negative impact on the quality applied to each of the tasks involved. In other words, instead of ending up with one task done well, you have two (or more) tasks that may be completed but are barely acceptable.
Some people find they just can’t 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, when you become obsessed with multitasking to manage your time you’ll never really get around to having any downtime. Instead, you’ll finish one set of projects and immediately start looking for another set to do.
Multitasking as part of time management is fine, provided it’s done wisely. 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 your approach.
You Feel Guilty If You Are Not Doing Something
Many of us live our lives from the edge of guilt. We worry about doing the right thing, for the right people, at the right time and we often find ourselves agonizing over the way we do things. Guilt can be an effective tool when it comes to keeping us on track, but guilty feelings when there is nothing to feel guilty about is another matter altogether (and we’re very good at finding those matters). When guilt creeps into the time management process, it is usually an indicator that you have begun to believe on some level that unless you’re are not actively engaged in some task, you’re are not managing your time well.
While it is important to take care of necessary tasks in a timely manner, you do need some time to simply relax and recharge. If you look at it from this perspective, failing to include time for rest and recreation is a breach of good time management policies. If you deny your mind and your body of what it needs to be healthy, you are defeating the purpose of time management, and setting yourself up for a fall at some future point.
You become annoyed with others who don’t do as you do
One of the ways people validate their actions is by comparing them with what other people do. After all, if others are using the same approaches and methods to time management that we are, that means we are on the right track. However, when you’re in your zone and people do things differently, we may assume they are wrong and we are right, something has gone wrong with our sense of time management.
We know that everyone brings different talents and abilities to a given task, so taking this to the next level means there are in fact more than one right approach when tackling the same tasks or projects. People who have a balanced view of time management realize this and even welcome the opportunity to learn something new. However, if you assume your way is the only right way you may be on the defensive and find fault with as many aspects of the alternative method as possible.
Again, this negative point of view isn’t really 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. If you are working with a team or delegating responsibilities, having this mindset can upset everyone’s ability to manage time effectively, meaning no one progresses as quickly as they would if all parties could learn from one another and respect individual working styles.
It may be time to check in with yourself and the way you manage your time! The bottom line is that you can become so obsessed with time management that the good you’ve created may start to unravel, putting you in a position where you are more likely to struggle and fail. When this happens, you’ll find your obsession with structured time management may be worse than when you didn’t attempt any time management practices at all.
Barbara Jemmott is the founder and business strategist at Your Entrepreneurial Spirit. Her 4-point YES to Customer Acquisition Program (C.A.P.) allows her to work her passion which is helping entrepreneurial women grow their audiences and income, online. She got here through her 20+ years of experience helping businesses understand and implement systems, strategies and procedures to increase productivity as well as implementing change and streamlining operations. With experience and responsibilities to design, develop and deliver training for small to large technology training initiatives for Fortune 100 companies, she brings “Big Business” expertise to the small business space. Learn more about Your Entrepreneurial Spirit and the YES to Customer Acquisition Program at www.yourentrepreneurialspirit.com