Here’s the ugly truth about time management.
This is something that most productivity and business writers don’t want to talk about, or even go near:
Most time management techniques just get in the way of you doing things.
All these “productivity hacks” and “time management tips” are actually stopping you from getting things done.
They are all forms of creative procrastination1Or mental masturbation. that create an extra step in the process of you doing something that you should just be doing anyway.
Because when we really need to do something… we just do it.
We don’t need fancy techniques or the latest time-saving hack.
It Just. Gets. Done.
I realise the irony in this.
I have a website full of such techniques.
I have stated many times that being organised confers certain advantages.
Organisation and techniques help us to build productive capacity.
But when it comes to the take action part – these things are supposed to fade away into the background, so that we can just do.
What Time Management Techniques Are You Talking About Aaron?
All of them.
Anything you can find here: most important task, timeslices, Eisenhower quadrants, deep work mode…
These things serve as extra workarounds to get our brains and bodies to do something that we should just be doing anyway.
Ok, Then Why Do These Hacks and Techniques Exist and Why Do People Recommend Them?
These hacks and techniques are ways of tricking our bodies and minds into doing things that we should just be doing outright.
They exist because we are often not on our purpose.
We procrastinate. We get bored. We perceive our tasks as low value.
Our society is coddled and most of us believe that we shouldn’t have to do anything we don’t want to.
Everyone thinks they’re special and is going to change the world.
But an examination of human history would show otherwise.
As one of my clients put it:
I don’t enjoy it, but you know… you do what you have to do.
Most of us are lazy. We don’t work as hard as we should. We get distracted by every shiny object that comes along. And we poorly manage our resources.
This is why time management hacks and techniques exist.
They help us overcome our lack of purpose and our inability to manage our lives and inner game properly.
What’s the Alternative?
You optimise your life – your time management stack, your productivity stack.
You achieve capacity.
Then, without any fancy time management hacks or techniques, you just sit down, and do it.
You take action, until there are no more actions to take.
What To Do Next
Purpose. Capacity. Action.
- Or mental masturbation.
Photo by Thomas Lipke.