Time Management is a Waste of Time

Posted by on Jun 28, 2013 in Work-life Balance | 19 comments

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of reading “time management” articles touting to-do lists and prioritizing as valuable tools to help you get more done.

What really bugs me is to-do lists and prioritizing are great tools, and I use them every day, but they don’t offer improved work-life balance, happiness, or success. I mean, really, how many of you have listed and prioritized your way to a better life?

What if I don’t want to get more done? Don’t I do enough already?!?!

Time management is a waste of time!

Work-life balance isn’t the result of spending a specific number of hours on work and a specific number of hours on the rest of life. I can work 20 hours a week and feel overwhelmed, burned-out, and stressed. I can work 50 hours and feel peaceful, happy, and balanced if I love what I do every minute of the day.

Work-life balance is about quality of time, not quantity of time. It’s about loving life, not packing more into life.

Instead of trying to do more with my time, I’m working on enjoying each and every moment– when I’m at work, in the car, waiting in line at the grocery store, or going to the movies.

I’m not trying to managing my time, I’m focused on doing my best at whatever I’m doing in the moment.

I’m using to-do list sparingly and working on simplifying my life, removing as many distractions as possible so I spend more time doing things that I enjoy and less on things that don’t really matter.

Here’s my invitation to you:

Enjoy your life to the fullest. Do your best at whatever you do. Cut out the people, places, and things that don’t make your life great. Invest in the people, places, and things that do make your life great! Invest in yourself, love yourself, have fun with yourself! Have fun with your life!

Stop doing more, start living more.

live your life!Photo credit Neal Fowler

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I love your comments! What does time management mean to you? How are you going to stop managing your time and start enjoying your life?

19 Comments

  1. Thank you for saying this. It’s nice to be efficient, but only to free up more free time! I find spending time in nature to be so rejuvenating. It’s a wonderful antidote to all the rush-rush. Spending time with family is soul-satisfying too. Do you ever read the blog Zen Habits? It’s wonderful for finding that balance we all seek!

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Maggie!

      I’m so glad you believe in living a content and balanced life, not just stuffing more life into life. It’s so tempting to push ourselves to do more but in my experience that only leads to exhaustion!

      I do enjoy the blog Zen Habits- what a great blog. I love to find new inspiration and motivation to continue to live a balanced, happy, and healthy life!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

      • My pleasure, Chrysta, and I’m so glad I found your blog! I always say, remember to breathe!

  2. Hi Chrysta,

    1. ” enjoying each and every moment”. I agree that it’s better to enjoy what you do. 20 hours of doing what you hate are harder than 50 hours doing what you love. However, things are more complicated than that.
    When I sit in front of the computer I like very much what I’m doing and forget about time. Hours pass without me even notice. At some point in time my body and my mind get into Rebel mode. It wants movement, socializing, entertainment. I look through the window. It’s already dark, and late. I must go to sleep.
    2. I have a friend who is an artist, a painter. His mind hates time management. He cannot conceive order, discipline, organizing things. He works and paints as he feels and he says he wants to live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment.
    As a result he rarely finishes what he starts. He is constantly distracted by other things (shiny objects). He is never punctual (not even once). He borrows things from me but always forget to bring them back.
    He works hard and earns money but he spends it very fast. When you ask him, he never knows what he bought the day before.When he walks on the street he sets his mind to arrive on a particular place but he needs hours to get to that place even if it is 10 minutes walk.
    His finances are a mess. He is always in debt.
    What are his chances of survival? Very slim I’m afraid. Now he has just married. I think God wants to help him. He will be a father soon. What will happen with his family if he will not change this lifestyle?
    If he won’t be able to change and apply a little order in his life, he will lose all and die.
    He lives his life to the fullest, indeed and enjoys every second but … something is not OK here.
    Would you adopt such a lifestyle?

    Have a nice day

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Silviu!

      I agree time management is complicated, and I do believe in being efficient and organized! I also believe there’s often so much focus on time management that we find ourselves in a situation where we are trying to find a solution for a symptom of the problem instead of the problem itself. In my experience when we’re not getting things done it’s because we’re doing the wrong things- we’re doing unnecessary things, or things we think we’re “supposed” to do instead really following our own path. I believe focusing on the right things is the first step- then you can consider time management to do the right things more efficiently!

      I also believe in both the examples you gave the real issue may not be time management as much as being fully engaged in the present. Losing track of time, getting distracted, being forgetful, etc. occur when we are not mindful- when we’re detached from what we’re doing right this moment instead of being thoughtful about what we’re doing right this moment. Time management may help some in these situations, but it has been far more helpful for me to work on being engaged than managed.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and adding to the conversation! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  3. People tend to complicate everything. Even though I wouldn’t agree that time management is a waste of time for one would need time to consider what they are doing in their lives, how life is going and so on, but I do agree that one should simply live more than they think aboout insignificant subjects such as time management.

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Farouk!

      I agree time management can be a good thing, but as you said only after considering other things first- such as if we’re spending our time on things that really add value or help us achieve our goals. By itself time management can hurt as much as help if we’re just packing more needless stuff into life!

      I appreciate your perspective! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  4. Hi, Chrysta! Dropping by your blog for the first time, and I’m really glad I did. I love your perspective with regard to Time Management. Maybe that’s why the subject never really sat well with me. I’ve tried to blog about it most recently, but wasn’t really inspired to write about it as much as I am by other topics.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it. It has definitely given me food for thought!

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Dawna!

      I’m a very organized person and I love the idea of time management, but then I realize it gets me focused on a never-ending list of things to-do- most of which aren’t all that important or necessary. It’s great to be efficient but even more important to consider whether all those things need to be done in the first place.

      Maybe my post will inspire you to write something of your own on the topic- I certainly hope so! :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  5. I agree Chrysta, well said girl! Now if we could just get everyone to take your advice wouldn’t everyone just be a lot happier!

    I have my lists and I follow them. I also don’t waste time on projects or people that either I don’t have time for, they aren’t necessary or the drain me physically. Get all that going for ya and girl we can accomplish so much more.

    Wonderful tips here Chrysta but you always share great ones with us.

    ~Adrienne

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Adrienne!

      You’re such a wonderful example of healthy and happy living and I’m so grateful to have friends like you to keep me inspired!

      Like you said- it’s not worth wasting time on people or project that you don’t have time for or drain you physically, mentally, or emotionally. So often our society focuses on things we think we should do, or the things other people want from us, or what we think will get us success instead of simply embracing the good stuff in life and creating more of it. It’s not all that complicated, really!

      Thanks so much for sharing your positive energy! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  6. Well said Chrysta. I will freely admit I’d be lost without my task list, but I don’t manage my time, I manage my energy and my priorities. When someone says to me “I didn’t have time” what I hear is “It wasn’t important enough to me.”

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Marty!

      You’ve got it right- I manage what’s important and what’s not important, not time. I do better when I choose where to focus my efforts. :)

      Thanks for sharing! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  7. Hi Christa,

    I enjoyed your post. Probably because I am of a likemind. I like to reframe the term “work-life balance” to “work-life effectiveness.” (A term i got from Christine M. Riordan in a HarvardBiz articcle).

    I think this term better expresses how I go about my work-life and reminds me that sometime work needs to take the front seat but not all the time.

    Again, great post.

    Chris

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Chris!

      I hadn’t heard the term “work-life effectiveness” before- thanks for sharing it! I agree that work is important and sometimes we, as a society, give it too much importance. And sometimes we think of work and work and everything else as life but they are really one in the same. :)

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  8. Hi Chrysta

    I agree with you. The problem I have with making lists, is that there it is staring at you and you know you should start but it keeps glaring at you. Sometimes a list is helpful, but at times it stands in the way.

    I find if I make a list and something on it I don’t want to do, the list becomes a thorn in my side and a great deal of the list will not get done. I jot down ideas and that helps to have some kind of organization at getting things done.

    You are right, we need to not put so much pressure on ourselves to do things that are just not that important. Might be important to some, but not necessarily important to us.

    Mary

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Mary!

      Lists are helpful to a point, but if I only focus on making and checking off lists then I’m probably not stopping to consider if I really need to do all the things on my list- life is about more than to-do lists. :)

      I love the distinction you made between what’s important to others and what’s important to us. If I spend my life doing what I think other people want, then I’m probably not going to be very satisfied with my own life. This is my life, my journey!

      Thanks for sharing your experience! Have a grateful day!

      Chrysta

  9. Hi Chrysta,

    For me it’s about cutting out the people, places and things that don’t make my life great. Not always successful at that, but trying.

    Removing distractions is a big part of improving the quality of our lives. Time management and being organized can help us but the real key is to live and enjoy each moment, whatever you do.

    Enjoyed this post a lot :-)
    Liz

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Liz!

      I agree with you completely- the real key is to live and enjoy each moment. It’s tempting to get caught up in lists and all the things we think we have to do but if we aren’t enjoying it- what’s the point?!

      As much as possible I try to be organized but not focus so much on organization and time management that I forget what’s important and continue to spend my precious time and energy (my life!) on things that don’t make my life great.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Chrysta

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