Why Time Management Doesn't Work

Do you know who long a minute is to manage it? You can look at your watch, but without that reference how long is a length of time anyway?

When I stopped to think about the answer I had to say with all truthfulness “I have no idea how long a minute is.”  Others I asked agreed, but some said “I can tell through a feeling rather than a specific knowing of a duration.” The best answer was “a minute is as long as I need it to be”. How beautiful, we have all said something like “just give me a minute and I will be right there”, and then take longer to accomplish what we were doing.


I can see the physical consequence of a minute by watching a sweep second hand on a clock. But without that mechanism I couldn’t really tell exactly how long a minute is. And come to think of it my watch is not perfectly accurate. So who really knows?

Yet the perception of time is woven into the fabric of society itself and in this lies why Time Management doesn’t work.

How can we rely so heavily on a concept, that if you put any thought into at all, you have to admit is a human construct designed to create order, physical and psychological control, and security of the person and society. And further to this, how can we invest so much emotion in managing something that in itself is unmanageable?

“Five pm is quitting time, it feels good to be leaving work.” “TGIF the weekend is here.”  “Monday at 9am Oh no its back to work I go.” ”I have 1 hour to accomplish 2 hours of work I’m just not going to be able to get it all done.”  “Just three more hours I am finished work for the day!”  “I am working 70 hours a week, I need a holiday.”   

So herein lies the paradox and the answer. Transcend the emotions attached to time and you find freedom. You don’t need to save time – there are no time credits to put in an account for a rainy day, you can’t manage time or use time more efficiently. Time can’t be manipulated in anyway. What you can do is break free of the emotions you have invested in the perceptions of what is happening around you and to you. Free yourself of the belief that more time is the answer to your success and solution to your problems, and you actually begin to live life in an easier way.

Whew, so how is it that breaking free of the emotions and changing your perception we have invested in time will make a difference you might ask? It’s all about energy and attention. There is energy that was directed towards negative emotions that can now be used for analysis, clear thinking or efficient action or non-action as the case might be. Or better yet just enjoying life.  That energy can also be used for creating clarity of truth of a situation. The greater the clarity the more efficient and directed the action or solution may be. If you are wasting emotional energy on time, your attention is distracted. Emotional energy regarding time is about the future (what might be or not be) or the past (what happened or didn’t happen), in either case it is most likely made up. But pure attention is only interested in what is occurring now.   

When clients try this, there is obviously skepticism and of course the mind needs proof before it buys in. But with practice certain things begin to happen. They begin to enjoy life a lot more. They gain great confidence about themselves and their world. Things get accomplished with greater ease, and they generally feel a greater sense of personal well being and peace.

Have they put away their Smartphones? Do they still make lists? The answer to both is it’s a personal preference. But what did happen is they found freedom from the addiction that managing time is the answer and so can you. Manage your mind instead.


copyright Jonathan Creaghan 2014, all rights reserved