Part 5 Chapter 34

Part 5 Chapter 34

34. WHY TIME MANAGEMENT COURSES DON’T WORK

Faced with the problem of too much to do and not enough time to do it, people generally try two solutions.

Time management courses and books

This is often the first solution. There is, for example, the immensely successful Getting Things Done, by David Allen.

However, if you think about it, time management courses and books are about getting more done in a given time. That’s certainly a useful thing to be able to do but that’s not addressing the problem of too much to do and not enough time to do it.

Time management courses and books don’t solve the problem I’m talking about – too much to do and not enough time to do it. They solve a different problem – how to get more done. This is also a valid problem. It’s just not the pressing problem that most of us have.

Working crazy hours

When the time management course doesn’t work, it seems to me that people reckon they only have one other option and that is to work crazy hours.

The problem with this, of course, is that working crazy hours quickly becomes unproductive and can lead to a whole list of other problems, such as exhaustion and poor overall effectiveness.

So, this doesn’t work either. Now, this is all pretty depressing.

The alternative

Is there a solution to the problem of having too much to do and not enough time to do it? It turns out there is. And it’s about the most counter-intuitive solution you could imagine.

We have to learn not to do things.

Because, if we can learn not to do things, the right stuff will get done and we will have solved the problem of too much to do and not enough time to do it.

So, there’s a great prize to be had here. The rest of this part of the book tells you exactly how to not do things.