Time Crunched? Tim Ferris Says 'Psychological Interference' May Be to Blame

Last Updated Jun 11, 2008 12:49 PM EDT

  • dino.JPGThe Find: If you feel perpetually crunched for time, a
    Wharton School professor suggests the culprit isn't your overstuffed calendar but your leadership skills.
  • The Source: The blog of Tim Ferris, author of "The Four-Hour Workweek" discussing "Total Leadership" by Wharton School professor Dr. Stewart Friedman.
The Takeaway: Tim Ferriss uses his blog to plus Dr. Friedman's new book, but it's not like Friedman needs the publicity. He was recently (and reverently) profiled in the NY Times. Friedman's ideas, however, might be worth the hype. The Wharton professor offers busy business leaders a way to balance their life and create what Friedman calls "four-way wins" â€" integration of work, home, community and self.
The principle that underpins Friedman's ideas is that time isn't the problem, your ability to lead is. A snippet from Friedman's book from Ferriss's blog explains:
How you spend your time matters, of course. But, it turns out that, surprising as it might seem, managing your time is not the major factor... the "time bind" so often cited in the literature on work/family conflict is no doubt very real, there is a more subtle and pervasive problem that reduces satisfaction in the different domains of life: psychological interference between them.
That's when your mind is pulled to somewhere other than where your body is. This happens to all of us. There may even be times when you've been reading this and your eyes are on the page but your mind has drifted off. You aren't focused. Put differently, there are times when you might be physically present but psychologically absent.
If you reduce psychological interference, you increase your ability to focus on what matters when it matters, and you minimize the destructive impact conflicts can cause between, for instance, work and family. A main premise-- is that it takes leadership skill to manage the boundaries between the different areas of your life--not just the physical boundaries of time and space, but the psychological boundaries of focus and attention--and to integrate them well for mutual gain.

The Question: What do you think would relieve the time crunch in your life more: pruning your commitments or policing the psychological boundaries between them?

(Image of time crunch by Adry Long, CC 2.0)

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.