Time Management. A Philosophical Note…


Here I would like to discuss a popular topic  of Time Management. I feel like most people, who study or work and this is most of us, believe that there is not enough hours in the day. During the final year of school this feeling has become integral to my existence.

Of course there is a beautiful technique, which is called, already stated – magic time management. I have read a few books about it (by Brian Tracy, Jack Canfield, etc). The main principles I have learned that in order to manage your time and importantly manage your life are:

  • You need to have a clear understanding of what is important to you, your overall goals. These will help you to prioritize your tasks accordingly. Most important gets a priority and needs to be done first.
  • If it’s a large project, break it down into small pieces, as you won’t be able to gobble this massive mammoth in one go.
  • Make it clear when each project is due.
  • Decide what projects have to be completed for each month. Then break those projects into tasks and estimate how much time you need approx. for each step.
  • Then list the tasks you have to accomplish each week in order for you to meet your final deadline. So set mini deadlines or mile stones for each task has to be completed, by which time. So you don’t miss the overall, big deadline of your project. Once you have your tasks for each week. Now you can plan what has to be accomplished each day during this week.
  • Do the most difficult tasks first during the day, eat that ‘ugly frog’ as Brian Tracy would have said. Once this is accomplished, it will help you to move easier through the day. Some recommend to do the easier task first as it sets you in a positive mode and you don’t get stuck at the start of the day.
  • Also very important emphasised by all time management gurus. Concentration. Once it is crystal clear what to do you have to each day, focus on each task until it gets done, i.e. do not go on Facebook and constantly reply your WhatsApp or emails.
  • Also there is no point in having a detailed plan for a year ahead as things change, hurricanes happen and you might have to readjust your plan. Hence it’s better to have a very detailed plan not more than a month ahead or two…Or leave margins. Set tight deadlines, so if you end up having an unexpected disruptive event, you could use that reserve of time you saved previously…

The above my general understanding and there a lot of techniques to help you to visualize and organize your workload. These methods are great and they are useful and yes they also work, if you decide to make an effort and stick to this.

However I can’t help, but think that something is fundamentally wrong here. Why most people do not plan their time well naturally and have to learn those techniques. And not just learn, you have to train yourself into it…even better if you program your subconscious mind into it and it will become a natural habit to you like brushing your teach for example.

Why do majority people resist? Why do people procrastinate? When you pass by desks in a university library, a third of student or more would be browsing their FaceBook pages on their laptops. Even in work, people keep chatting to each other via email chat boxes. And why many students end up cramming a night before an exam and deadlines for work projects keep being postponed? This trend is pretty common.

I am guessing and speculating that there are few reasons to this….

Maybe it is because….

  • Before industrialisation, and before the advent of high speed technology life had a much slower pace. People did not have to complete thousands of tasks each day. In the past it could take days, weeks or months to receive a letter or you had to physically travel to deliver a message. Nowadays it takes a split of a second to receive your email with your new task.
  • The clock or watch has become more popular among masses during industrial times. The working time of Factory workers had to be measured, since their pay depended on it. Previously peasants and artisans, who produced handmade stuff did not have strict deadlines as there was less competition and they worked for themselves (free lanced as you would call it these days).  During the early industrial times, the workers have been exploited, forced to work most of the day. Which led to the rise of trade unions and it has been agreed, that it is legal to work only for 8 hours. Hence 8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep and 8 hours for oneself…for the rest…aka life…time left

I won’t go too much into history anymore, of how our lives have become determined by the clock thanks to a great guy called Friedrick Winslow Taylor.

One thing is clear that there are current trends, which…unfortunately won’t provide us with extra free time, unless you start taking deliberate conscious actions and take control of the situation, instead of going with the flow.

The information flow is going to become only faster, quicker and omnipresent. On the 21st of May (2013) World Wide Web had its 20th birthday. Even within these 20 years, things have seriously changed.  Internet Broadband coverage is expanding globally. Advent of smartphones and tablets keeps people attached to their screens, in work and after, during their leisure time. Constant communication via social networks transform into common phenomenon, when you see a couple at a dinner table, both typing messages to friends on their smartphones. Funny and sad at the same time.

So yes, going back to the need of managing our time, in order to lead a happy life. So since, it is clear that, if you work full time or study or both…you will not have much free time. I haven’t even mentioned having a family here…yet

One thing I am figuring out, in order for us to be happy in our modern life conditions and in our current society is to have a Job you Love. So all those tasks you need to accomplish each day for work will bring you satisfaction and purposeful meaning to your life.

If you don’t like your job…you have to enjoy only 8 hours left, during the day…with food (2.5h breakfast, lunch, dinner) and travel (2h..1h each way for example) realistically you end up with 3?… This time you will probably spend socialising with your partner, your kids and what about hobbies, which bring you that joy you have been missing during the day of work? Everyday tragedy of our modern lives.

It would be great option not to have a j.o.b and indulge yourself into doing things you actually enjoy doing… but I don’t think it’s a feasible for most of us…as without money…there is no honey…aka food and shelter…so we don’t have a choice, but work…So it comes down, either you work for someone…or you run a business and someone works for you…money has to be generated one way or another…

So to conclude…I am coming closer and closer to thinking. That the problem is not that people don’t know how to manage our time. The problem is that we are not taught in schools some fundamental things, in order to help us to live our lives happier. It is never strongly emphasized by teachers that you have to choose a job in the field you love, there are no programmes or modules, which are dedicated to discovering, in which field your heart lays. After graduating school, not many know what they want to do in their lives really…Of course, there are also economic barriers to a career choice. For example we can’t have thousands of actors in one country, however we can have thousands of customer support stuff. Still, you should strive to do what you love, even though it is not easy and may take time to get there.

Also…why should we not start teaching kids in primary school to management their time effectively and train them gradually into embracing time management until it becomes a habit, like brushing your teeth or driving a car. To some managing their time comes naturally, others need to learn and get used to being organised, focused and disciplined. Even though, due to rise of social media, this may be more challenging.

Please leave your comments below and share your ideas on the topic above…Thank you for reading this post.


2 thoughts on “Time Management. A Philosophical Note…

  1. Excellent post and topic! I can see you really got into it!! 😉
    Definitely time management should be taught. In my secondary school they gave us tips to manage our time, especially around exams. But, alas, they had a narrow view and only really taught us to manage our course-work, not all the external factors. I felt it was more about learning everything, and not learning smartly.. this you had to figure out yourself.

    An article I read on LinkedIn (can’t remember the author) said that you need to start your working day with your 3 core tasks that will get you what you desire – ie. these tasks fulfill your ambitions, give you recognition in the company/ visibility across your network.. etc.
    Therefore, it stated to spend time on the projects you believe in and/or that will advance your career.. forget about answering your email/setting up social media posts.. do these tasks later when you are tired and they don’t require so much brain-power..

    But alas, this all depends on your energy levels – if you’re a morning person; do your tasks in the morning – if you’re an evening person; do your tasks in the evening when you have the greatest energy.. could also depend on the day I guess! I think this seems like the most logical time management (when in work) I have read.. however, yes ..too true.. you must train yourself into this.. (0.0)

  2. Thank you so much for your detailed comment Gretta 🙂 I agree with your comment. There are so many aspects, which need to be taken into consideration. Not only the things you have to do…but also when, depending on your energy levels and work style. It’s a true science.

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