How to better manage your time: NPR

How to better manage your time: NPR


It is safe to say that you want more hours in the day, and it seems that there are an endless number of resources out there offering simple solutions for time control and ultra-efficiency. But the real answer could be to change our relationship with the clock. Andee Tagle from Life Kit offers more.

ANDEE TAGLE, BYLINE: Good time management starts with accepting your mortality. Stay with me. Of course, this is not the only step in this process, but according to author Oliver Burkeman it is an essential element that many an efficiency-oriented or optimization-oriented person often forgets. A self-proclaimed recovery productivity freak, Burkeman says it’s easy to be seduced by the allure of time management tools – color-coded planners, to-do list apps.

OLIVER BURKEMAN: These are all possibilities that help us to feel that we are on the verge of conquering time and being in control. But of course we never fully understand that because I think that people don’t get there.

TAGLE: The other problem with efficiency tools is that they often work incorrectly. Email just creates more email, and better email only creates an even bigger inbox problem. You can see where we are with it. Burkeman’s book, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management For Mortals, is about how and why you can reevaluate your relationship with time, starting with the startling brevity of the average human lifespan that gave the book its title. He doesn’t pull punches from there.

BURKEMAN: To any extent that you can see the truth that our time is limited, that we cannot do everything, that you can imagine far more goals than you could ever achieve – to any extent that you can can see, feel the discomfort about it, but being okay with it is another degree to which you have taken control of your life and started building a meaningful life.

TAGLE: Dealing with our finitude can make it easier to spend our time doing what is really most important to us. How do we find out what it really is? Burkeman makes a good starting point.

BURKEMAN: I’m writing about a question from James Hollis (ph) who suggests we should face our lives or big decisions in our lives. Doesn’t that make me happy, but does this path increase or decrease me?

TAGLE: He says that while research shows that people are generally poor predictors of future happiness, we usually know pretty well what paths lead us to growth, if not always to ease or contentment. Is this person challenging me or reinforcing bad habits? Is this new job an opportunity or just a means to an end? Once you figure that out, Burkeman suggests making the most of your time by addressing strategic weaknesses or …

BURKEMAN: Decide in advance where to fail.

TAGLE: When you understand that there is no way you can possibly do everything that you hope you can do, it can be easier to focus your energy on big projects that matter most and to keep up with other tasks that fall on the periphery.

BURKEMAN: If at least you can make up your mind in your head, you see, you know, for the next six months I’m not going to be the type of person to keep a tidy home instead of feeling bad about yourself when you fail the impossible, when you realize that you must, in fact, fail at something, decide beforehand. It’s a lot nicer.

TAGLE: These techniques can help you feel less rushed by time. And then, says Burkeman, pay attention to where your attention goes, because at the end of the day, that’s really all we have.

BURKEMAN: At the end of your life, the sum of all the things you were paying attention to will have been your life. If there are some friendships out there that you never really paid any attention to, well, you didn’t really have those friendships, did you? So what we pay attention to is really important because it just is – it just adds up to a life. If you pay attention to things that on some level you would not want to pay attention to, you are only giving away the one precious thing you have – right? – This is the time of your life.

TAGLE: For MediaFrolic News, I’m Andee Tagle.

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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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