Why hyper-organisation can backfire - Deepstash
The limits of time management

Many people see time management as a priority. That means allocating specific times to particular tasks to maximise productivity. But there's a difference between organising time to enhance productivity and viewing it as a goal in itself to define a life well spent.

Experts suggest some tasks don't fit into the time management grid. When you are spending time with family or a leisure activity, productivity is not a goal. Hyper-organisation can also have emotional consequences, particularly when it doesn't go according to plan.

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Time management started to gain traction when we began to believe that time equals money.

Some tasks don't fit well into scheduling. Tightly scheduling some intellectual tasks can decrease performance and scheduling fun tasks can rob us of their spontaneity and enjoyment.

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The emotional impact of over-optimisation

Too much optimisation can affect how we see time and impact our emotions.

  • When our schedules are disrupted, it can trigger anxiety and annoyance. But if we see interruptions as time worthy, we may see them as beneficial.
  • Research also shows over-scheduling can make us feel like we have less time. For example, if we have a meeting scheduled at a particular time, the hours before the meeting will feel insufficient, as if time shrinks towards the task.
  • Research suggests feelings of time scarcity reduce our capacity to care about other people.

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Targeted strategies

  • Perform work tasks back-to-back, then leave large blocks of time unscheduled.
  • View the hour before a meeting as enough time to do something, not as wasted time.

Reframing how we understand the concept of time management.

  • Use time-tracking as a means to an end.
  • Different approaches will fit different personality types. Find what works for you.

Giving power back to ourselves as the creators of our schedules instead of letting our schedules rule our lives.

  • Find a happy medium between structured and unstructured time.
  • Know what you manage your time for.

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