How often have you worked your tail off on a particular day to complete all the tasks that you think need to be done? Just when you think you have everything complete and you can sit down, you notice that there are still other things hanging out there that you missed or forgot about. One of the most liberating statement regarding time management is to just declare that no matter how hard you try “You can't get everything done.”
This concept was presented to me in a workshop that I attended to maximize my productivity. The program was called Mission Control. When I first heard the statement “you can't get it all done”, I said to myself “that's what you think.” Then I started thinking about it. I thought about all the times I have cleaned my house only to find a cup in a guest bedroom or one of my kids toys in a bathroom after I thought I was done cleaning the house. As anyone with kids knows, you have to be able to let certain things go when you have kids or you will go crazy. You can't obsess over every little detail. This is the same for many areas in our lives.
Once you have goals and you know what you value, it's easier to put a time management system in place. Mission Control happens to be the system that I currently use. Besides not being able to get it all done, the other concept that Missions Control made me think about was how we use the same time management systems today that we used 30 years ago yet the amount of information that we have to process and the speed with which we need to process it in has increased substantially. It makes sense to start utilizing a time management system that has adapted with the times.
Carrying a day planner around in this day and age is outdated. It doesn't solve the central issue that kills our productivity. That issue is our ability to stay in the moment when we are working on a task. How often do we sit down to work on a project and then are interrupted by not only phone calls and e-mails but our own thoughts of other projects that we have neglected as well. We need to have a time management system that addresses our need to not have things hanging over our head so that we can be fully present in every moment. The more present we are in the moment, the more productive we will be.
We also need a time management system that addresses current technology, specifcally e-mail and social media. E-mail and social media are great tools but they are also time wasters. The way we use technology needs to be addressed so that it doesn't cause distractions. When we are in our e-mail all day every day, productivity falls by the wayside.
As far as getting it all done? Let it go. You are never going to get everything done that needs to be done. The sooner you come to that realization the less stress you will feel. This will also allow you to just work in the moment and be more productive. What are your thoughts about being able to get it all done? How has stress hindered your productivity? What time management systems work for you? Have you noticed a need for different systems to address time management and productivity?