Metaphor: Time management can be like dieting. We portion out our time, like food, so we have optimal energy and results. Some people diet obsessively. Others manage their time obsessively. And both obsessions can be driven by a lack of self worth—a constant striving to be more acceptable, more productive… better.
I think that time management systems can suppress our own innate wisdom and cravings for vitality. They don’t free us, they imprison us. (And yet… so many of us are obsessed with time management systems. It’s crazy.)
Your calendar may say it’s a “high-priority day” but what if you need a break to reconnect with your mom, or cook a good meal very slowly? You block out two hours to work on your project, but then your best friend’s number shows up on your phone and you’re torn. Why should you feel guilty for talking to your friend? It’s your life.
It can go like (I know, I used to be a professional at the following):
You push yourself when your heart isn’t in it.
Your to-do list becomes more important than your fatigue.
You work to earn your time off, and you’re too beat to enjoy it when you get it.
Time regimens can be freeing, for sure. We need them like we need good eating habits. I batch my actionable tasks, I schedule in administrivia days, and I lay out key priorities in my planner. But it’s my relationship to those time methodologies that makes the difference in my psyche, and therefore the quality of what I do. I shifted how and WHY I use productivity tools.
If we’re going to kick our time diets then everything that gets on the calendar needs to be assessed for its nutritional value. The guiding question becomes, Does this sustain me or restrain me?
When you’re clear on what activates your joy, time management becomes a means to self-expression, not self-policing. And “making time” becomes an act of service so that you can be your best for those around you.
You’re the boss. Make time for what nourishes you—what matters most.