Ideas

Written by Meghan Kennelly on Oct 24, 2016

Why is Time Management Driving Us Crazy?

You’re just about to get up from your desk to head to a meeting you’re already late for, when you see an URGENT email notification pop up. You haven’t even scanned the first line before your phone starts ringing. “Did you get my email”? UGH!

Sound familiar?

time management

 

The truth is you’re not the only one driven crazy by the constant juggling of tasks and interruptions throughout the day. It seems the topic of time management is everywhere right now. Our environment has conditioned us to simply react to these interruptions, notifications, phone calls, and urgent emails. But, are we doomed to a life of crazy? No!

To get to the bottom of this trend and get some real solutions, I sat down with Rari Hilditch – a leadership and executive coach at the CIO Executive Council who is well versed in the topic.

 

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Rari, why do you think time management has become such a hot topic recently?

I think it’s become a hot topic because people are simply talking more about it.  Questioning where their time is going.  Are they making the most of what’s available?  Do they know what’s important?  Asking themselves, “Is it OKAY that most of my day is spent in meetings?”

When we look at the math, there are 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, and 52 weeks a year. We’re right to question things because that time goes by fast. We should take a good hard look at whether or not all the things we’re spending so much time focusing on is helping us reach our goals, or even adding up to a full life?  Sometimes the answer is no, and that’s when it’s time to make changes.

 

When you’re working with leaders on this topic what comments or insights usually come up?

In my role here at the CEC this is one of the topics I coach individuals and small groups on and what I repeatedly hear is that they’re struggling with constantly competing priorities and interruptions – knocks at the door, phone calls, emails, social media, and endless meetings.

They share that it’s not only hard to keep pace, but it’s sometimes challenging to stay focused.  Most don’t have time to stop and think, or even ask themselves “Am I focusing on the right things” and “What’s going to have the greatest impact?”

Some people share that they feel tired day after day.  They get home on the weekends and crash.  Many say that making the transition from work to home is challenging too, and once there, find that their mind drifts back to work.  And the same can be true about the pressures and concerns of home life that may keep drifting into their work life.  Some have even shared they feel a looming sense of worry about getting everything done.

The truth is that not everything that comes at us all day is worth our time, our focus and our attention.  Unfortunately, many people don’t pause to make the discernment, they simply react.

 

Is there hope for those of us who carry around that worry? Are you noticing anything positive in the marketplace when it comes to the topic of time management?

What I’m excited about is that more and more organizations are acknowledging and taking notice of the struggles that can come in this age of the knowledge worker.  While technology has enhanced our lives, it’s also made things harder since many of us are always plugged in.  We need to create time for our health, proactive work, relationship building, learning and renewal.

What I’m noticing is that the organizations are getting creative with their work environments, flexible time, wellness programs, and so on, because they see the benefits of supporting their employees in a more powerful way.  One of my clients, for example, shared with me that their organization has mandatory training on how to run effective meetings, so that the time invested is well spent.

In this age of the knowledge worker the greatest asset we have is ourselves. We’ve got to keep ourselves a priority. Again, making time for our health, proactive work, relationship building, learning and renewal.  That means scheduling it in and making space for it.  That more and more organizations are recognizing how they contribute and can support this is promising to me.

 

Now that we have a better understanding of what’s really going on, I asked Rari to share some suggestions we can easily implement in our day-to-day routine to get us started. She also shares some recommended materials for those of us that want to take a deeper look. These will be outlined in a coming blog, so stay tuned!