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Why time management so often fails

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https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20180904-why-time-management-so-often-fails

bbc.com

Why time management so often fails
People are obsessed with time management. Every single person I have discussed this subject with had a strong opinion. There were fierce debates between those who say nothing works, those who swear by their low-tech Moleskines, and those who cannot live without their apps.

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Time-management tools

They offer the promise that you would gain certain control over your life, but there's no guarantee it will work.
When it fails to work, most people try another app or another technique.&nbs...

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Uncritical Productivity

Pursuing productivity for its own sake is counter-productive. 

Most people feel able to complete more tasks when they start using time-management tools, but they don’t bear in min...

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Balancing act

Back when more people worked in factories, laborers did not have to deal with time management. At the assembly line, time was managed for you.

Freedom comes with responsibility: you hav...

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One size does not fit all

These time-management tools assume a lot of things about the environment where they are used and the individual personalities of people who use them.

  • Some people have a be...

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Created by software developers

Many of these time-management tools are made by a very particular group of people: software developers. “We always want to solve a problem we have ourselves." Unsurprisingly, tech workers are among...

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Take control of your life

You are going to die – and this is a crucial fact for time management that is very often neglected.

Time management tools should allow you to take control of your life, and then structure ...

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No holy grail

Bear in mind that productivity is not an endless race, just a tool with limits. 

Experiment often, as finding an approach that fits your personality and habits can be hard.

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By the hour

This works well for the chronic procrastinator: those who say they will do it later and then wonder why it never gets done.

Instead of getting overwhelmed, tackle your to-do l...

The Pomodoro Method

Rather than trying to work flat-out, break down your day into a series of work-sprints with a short rest period after each session.

Set a timer for 25 min and focus exclusively on your work for that time, take a 5 min break, and repeat.

Some people find that taking a 5 min break destroys their flow. But it does help to break long complex tasks into a series on manageable sprints.

The 2-minute rule

The 2-minute rule is a strategy for quickly assessing and taking action on small tasks so they don’t take up too much mental energy.

Ask yourself if a task is going to take you 2 minutes or less. If so, just do it.

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Time Management And Personality

In order for any time-management method to be successful, you have to take into account people’s individual behaviors at work. There is no one-size-fits-all method for time management.

The Action Hero

Give them a seemingly impossible list of tasks and they will have them done and dusted faster than a speeding bullet. But in their haste, they can miss things and prioritize nonurgent tasks.

Strategy: For this type, ranking tasks according to urgency is a good call. 

The Diva

Very sociable and upbeat but with a tendency to procrastinate, they often boast about their nonexistent achievements giving the impression they are more productive than they really are.

Strategy: breaking tasks into tiny steps, scheduling their resolution and setting reminders works well. Email management according to urgency is also crucial considering how much time it usually consumes. 

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There isn’t enough time

Complaining that you don’t have enough time is not getting to the root problem. It may be that you’re lousy at time management. Admit to yourself that there is enough time -- you just don’t know how t...

A one size fits all solution

Instead of relying on a tool with all the bells and whistles, find out where you’re struggling and what’s essential for you. 

For example, if scheduling is taking you away from product development, then you could use a scheduling tool that uses machine learning to automate most of your scheduling needs. If you’re wasting too much time on email, then consider using a tool to help tame your inbox.

Less anxiety

Time management is only useful when you’re aware of your limitations and don't let the system dictate your entire life. 

In other words, when you don’t tread lightly (especially at first), time management can add more stress to your life.

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