Why I stopped thinking about time management

Time investment. Photo: Lauren Bevilacqua 29 March 2019

One word has made the single biggest difference to how I think about time management: investment. I try to be efficient and productive, and to make the most of my time. I’ve read books and watched online courses to improve my time management. And I have high expectations of myself. But a few weeks ago I heard the phrase ‘time investment’, and everything changed.

I was listening to The Pineapple Project, a podcast hosted by Claire Hooper. In one episode Claire talks with a time management expert, Kate Christie. One of the first things Kate says is to stop thinking about time management and start thinking about time investment. Claire and Kate went on to discuss familiar time management strategies. But the thing I took away from this short discussion was simply the mindset of investment, not management. Investment, to me, focuses my thoughts on strategically using a finite resource.

So how has changing one word in my approach made a difference? Well, I still plan, schedule, batch and track. But the question I ask has changed. I used to ask: how long will this take and how can I fit it in? Now I ask: how much time is it worth spending on this? It may seem small, but I’ve seen a big change. Rather than trying to fit everything in, I am better evaluating how I spend my time. I’m factoring in more down time because, hey, sleep is important and time to relax is an investment in my well-being and relationships. And I feel more in control of how I use my time.

Switching to a time investment mindset has been more effective for me than any time management tip or app. So let me ask you this: how will you invest your time this week?

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