time management

When Traditional Time Management Advice Just Doesn’t Work

June 21, 2022

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Try Something New: When Traditional Time Management Advice Just Doesn’t Work

Tell someone that you’re looking for a time management hack, and you’ll get different versions of the same advice. Schedule your time wisely. Be organized. Avoid distractions. These pieces of advice are well-meaning – and they work for many people – but they aren’t guaranteed to work for everyone.

Tell someone that you’re looking for a time management strategy that actually works, and I bet you’ll get different versions of the same advice. “Spend your time wisely! Use this app or tool! Be organized! Avoid distractions!”

That’s great and all, but maybe you’ve tried all these pieces of advice and they just don’t stick. Or they don’t really work with your schedule or vibe with your personality, and you’re left right back where you started — struggling to manage your time. 

You don’t have to stay in that place, repeating the cycle over and over again. If traditional time management methods aren’t working for you, I have some suggestions that can help.

Today We’re Talking About

  • How your personality might be affecting your time management strategy
  • What to do when family, career, health, and other factors affect your ability to manage your time well
  • How finding support from like-minded people can help (and remind you that you’re not along)
  • How to spot the signs that let you know you need a new time management strategy

When time blocking and decision paralysis collide

Time blocking is a common and widely used time management method that I discussed back in Episode 78. If you haven’t tried time blocking yet, you simply assign blocks of time in your schedule to specific tasks. To avoid getting overwhelmed, you limit your tasks to three per day

You may already be using some form of this method if you write in a planner or use Google Calendar! I like to think of it as scheduling an appointment with yourself to complete a task. Easy, right?

The method is simple enough, but that doesn’t mean it works for everyone’s personality. If you have a hard time making decisions, narrowing down your to-do list might feel downright impossible. 

That’s a real thing, by the way, and it’s called “decision paralysis” or “analysis paralysis.” Decision paralysis is a kind of overthinking where you spend so much time weighing your options that you can’t move forward, for fear of making the wrong choice.

If decision paralysis sounds familiar to you, I suggest trying one thing when picking your three tasks: don’t give yourself too much time to think. Set a timer for five minutes and choose your three tasks instinctively. It can be scary, but with practice, you’ll learn to trust your decision-making skills!

Giving your energy to what matters most

Let’s say time blocking or decision paralysis isn’t the problem. What if it’s not your personality, but simply other important things going on in your life? For example:

  • If you work full-time, run your own business, or have a side hustle, that’s a huge chunk of your day spent working, not including commuting or working off-the-clock (as many of us entrepreneurs do).
  • If you’re a parent, you juggle school or daycare, meals, naps, activities, and family time. It’s basically another full-time job.
  • You probably want to spend time with people who matter to you, like your partner, parents, friends, other family members — and yourself.
  • There’s also caregiving, taking care of your mental health, navigating chronic illness or disabilities.

The list goes on and on, but you get the picture.

All of these obligations require you to be flexible. You can’t simply block out ten hours of your day to work if you have other people depending on you. If it was that simple, we wouldn’t be here, right?

How do you manage your time, prioritize, and still be flexible enough to deal with the unexpected?

You get clear with your core values and goals. Are you spending your time the way you truly want to?

For example, let’s say you’re feeling overwhelmed and frustrated because you’re working more hours than you expected. You recently accepted a promotion that you felt kind of iffy about, but you appreciated the extra income that’ll support your family. However, now you’re constantly trying to find more time to spend with your partner and kids.

In this hypothetical situation, your goal is not to make more money to support your family, as wonderful as that can be. Your core goal is to spend time with your family and to appreciate that time you get with them. 

See what I mean? That’s how you approach time management — with HEART

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode

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