20240710

Increase your freedom by caring about your time (without becoming a time nut)

When you think of freedom, do you believe controlling your time increases or decreases it?

Some might argue that time management equates to less freedom. However, both I and my clients, along with Alan Lakein in his book "How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life," assert that proper time control grants more freedom.


In the video I summarise a section of his book, intertwined with my own thoughts.

Below the video, you can read a summary of what I say, should you prefer that format.


 

Firstly, consider what time is.
Time is irreversible and irreplaceable. Many stress over this, fearing wasted moments. While true, there's no need for anxiety. The past cannot be changed; focus on the present as new time continually arrives—168 hours each week for you to decide how to use. Time is life; mastering it means mastering your life.

Lakein's approach to time management isn't about squeezing tasks into the shortest timeframe. Over-focusing on efficiency can strip life and thought from activities. Instead, it's about working smarter, not harder, allowing you to pursue what you love. For instance, despite a demanding job and three young children, I found time to write stories because of effective time management.

Lakein emphasises being effective over merely efficient. Efficiency is doing tasks quickly; effectiveness is choosing the right tasks. Sometimes this means delegating or lowering ambition levels on less important activities. Effective time use is a learnable skill, not an innate talent.

The payoff for managing your time better is gaining control over your life. This control shouldn't be too tight like a clenched fist—compulsive and obsessive—nor too loose like a limp hand—apathetic and lazy. Aim for balanced control, akin to a flexible yet functional hand.

Remember, different people require varying degrees of structure and spontaneity. This can change with life phases; what worked in your twenties may not suit you as a parent. Time use is personal; only you can judge its effectiveness for your life.

Coaching can help tailor time management strategies to your needs. Books and videos provide insights but finding what works specifically for you might require personalised guidance.

Lakein warns against becoming over-organised, an overdoer, or a time nut—all extremes where potentially valuable traits become liabilities. Over-organisation prioritises plans over actions, overdoing focuses on ceaseless activity without assessing value, and being a time nut involves rushing through an impossible schedule without questioning it.


In essence, greater control of your time leads to greater freedom by finding the right balance for you without veering into extremes.

Let me know if you want my help finding your way of managing time.