Productivity

Time management problems? You might be asking the wrong questions

Martin Kovacs /

Are you struggling to squeeze your schedule into the confines of the 24-hour day? It may be that you’re approaching time management in the wrong way.

If you’re expending valuable energy seeking out the ideal formula for greater productivity, priority management rather than time management may be the issue.

At Thrive Global, author and business advisor Charlie Gilkey observes that if you feel you have time management concerns, “it’s quite likely that you’re asking the wrong questions”.

“Time management, as a concept, is bankrupt,” Gilkey writes, noting that whatever it is you do, you will only ever have 24 hours in a day.

Viewed from a different perspective, Gilkey points to energy and attention as being more scarce than time.

“People who think they have time management problems really have priority management problems, which means, at root, they have self-management problems,” he writes.

“Teams and organisations have the same problem  —  as a unit, there are only so many priorities that a given group of people can address in a given slice of time. One of the chief jobs of the leaders is to ensure that people are addressing the most important priorities in any given slice of time.”

Gilkey recommends answering the five questions to help frame your thinking:

1. What matters in the present? Priorities evolve over time and it is important to recognise this, rather than acting on priorities from the past.
2. What actions can I take today and moving forward (tomorrow, in a week’s time) that most reflect my priorities?
3. What are the priorities of the people who are around me and who matter to me and do they align with my priorities?
4. What is consuming my attention that doesn’t reflect my priorities and how can I rectify this?
5. Who can I share my priorities with to receive the support I need to take action?

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Martin Kovacs

Martin Kovacs is a journalist with experience covering the IT, consumer electronics, retail, finance and energy sectors.

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