Confession: The Guardian’s 2016 article Why Time Management is Ruining Our Lives by Oliver Burkeman was an open tab on my iPad for probably 4 months. The funny thing is, within a week of mustering the courage to close that unread article, Organizers starting buzzing about it on the NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) list serve. I couldn’t escape it.
It proposes a problem some of us may feel stirring around our to do lists, but haven’t been able to identify. Burkeman calls it out:
"And yet the truth is that more often than not, techniques designed to enhance one’s personal productivity seem to exacerbate the very anxieties they were meant to allay. The better you get at managing time, the less of it you feel that you have."
If you are keenly interested in all things productivity, but also can’t remember the last time you took a walk at sunset just because or lounged on the sofa with a book for more than 5 minutes, ask yourself what is it all for? How is collecting time management techniques really working out for you?
This necessary long-form article is the blackest sheep of anything I’ve read on the subject. It is worth reading every word, but this part sums it up, and hopefully will make you feel like dropping the ball on some to dos is the way to win:
"You can seek to impose order on your inbox all you like – but eventually you’ll need to confront the fact that the deluge of messages, and the urge you feel to get them all dealt with, aren’t really about technology. They’re manifestations of larger, more personal dilemmas. Which paths will you pursue, and which will you abandon? Which relationships will you prioritise, during your shockingly limited lifespan, and who will you resign yourself to disappointing? What matters?"
I’d add to that all of the things in your physical inbox on your physical desktop.
Read the Guardian’s Why Time Management is Ruining Our Lives.
Is your relationship with time management a complicated one? Have you struck a balance between getting it all done and enjoying true downtime? Do you ever have moments where, despite your efforts, you feel trapped by your to do list? Please share in the comments!