Is Time Management really the problem?

We hear these days that time management is our biggest challenge. There’s just not enough time in the day to do all of the things we need to do. “If only I had more time…..”, is a phrase we hear all too often.

But is time really our biggest challenge? Or is it actually attention?

Let me explain.

All day long we’re bombarded by notifications. Our computer constantly pings as emails and Slack messages arrive. Our smartphones are going crazy in our pockets, and for those of us with smartwatches, they’re constantly buzzing, demanding our attention. What to do?!?

How we manage our time needs careful thought, yes, but  the bigger challenge we have in today’s always-on world is how we manage where our attention goes. We can choose to control it , or let it control us.

So if you want to get more productive, then start thinking about where your attention goes. Do you really have to check your phone every few minutes? Or read and reply to those emails and messages as soon as they arrive?

What would happen if you didn’t, and you were able to give all of your attention to the task in front of you? I would bet that you start getting more done, and that time management becomes less of an issue.

I’m interested in your thoughts on this.

4 thoughts on “Is Time Management really the problem?

  1. Totally agree. So much distraction.

    I chose not to buy a smart watch, opting instead for a simple activity tracker watch. The only time it talks to me is when I set a wake up alarm.

    But even after trying to minimise the distractions, there’s so much competing for attention. Often I feel guilty that I haven’t watched a friend’s new video, read his blog post, or listened to her latest podcast. But we can spend much of the day just doing that, and remaining unproductive.

    So yes, I think there are occasions when we need to literally switch off everything else, and give the intended task our undivided attention.

    1. I have to admit to having a Pebble smartwatch David, but most of the day I have it set to silent and not to send me notifications. I also don’t consume huge amounts of content, I just don’t have time to watch 10 x 15 minute FB live posts. It’s about priority and focus I think

  2. Ali

    Good point well made. The constant distractions and floods of emails drag me away from focusing on what is important. And guess what, it’s not that latest Groupon offer or the dancing dog video! My natural tendancy is to seek variety in my work so am pre-disposed to flitting around. I use BrainFM to help me focus and try to block out chunks in my diary to focus. I also use Sanebox which is really useful in keeping me focused on the important emails.

    I am getting better but there is still quite a bit of plate spinning going on.


    1. Good to hear about those apps you’re using Steve – I have to admit to having gone old school, and I’m just switching stuff off and not paying attention to devices when I’m focused on a task. That’s why it’s taken me until 4pm today to reply!

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