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Time Management Isn't Just for Crises

Time Management Secret: Slow and Steady Wins the RaceTime management is a lot like studying if a new post up Time Management Ninja is to be believed. Just like preparing for a test, there are two ways to approach time management. The first is the rough equivalent of cramming for the test. In this model you wait for obligations to pile up and then when panic starts to kick in you pull out all your best time management practices to cope with the onslaught. Like cramming, this tends not to work.

What works better? According to TMN, the answer is the same as it in the academic world -- a steady pull. Rather than turning off and on your time management A-game to suit the circumstances, the blog suggests you have an always-on approach to managing your work and offers several reasons this approach works better.

  • The Steady Pull. An even steady pull is much easier to bear and allows you to be more productive. Starting and stopping your productivity efforts only creates more work for yourself.
  • Habits vs. Extra Effort. If you make time management part of your habits, the effort disappears and time management simply becomes part of your lifestyle. If you try to "turn it on" only once in a while, it becomes an extra effort that you must bear.
  • It is a Skill. Time management is a skill that you must hone just like any other. It takes practice and experience like other skills and activities. The more you do it, the better you will be at it.
  • Myth of the Crisis. People tend to think they only need time management in a jam. But, the truth is that you need it just as much when you are not in a crisis. It is proactive action that prevents the problems in the first place.
All of this advice makes plenty of sense, but I also see a flip side. Turning off for a weekend or the odd day here or there might not make logical sense if humans were machines, but we're not (not most of us anyway). A nice stretch of slacking may not be good for your email inbox, but couldn't it do wonders for your energy level and creativity when you're burnt out and need a fresh perspective?

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(Light switch image by Orange Steeler, CC 2.0)