Why Is Time Management So Hard?

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first sharpening the ax.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Ugh, Another Time Management Seminar

I remember saying those exact words early in my career.  I believed I planned well.  My job didn’t allow me to stay on top of things.  Customer questions, employee issues, and let’s not forget being short staffed.  These were out of my control, therefore, managing my time was also out of my control.

Or so I thought…

An Awakening

At the time, I didn’t realize it wasn’t about managing the hours and minutes.  I had to change.  As we all know from our January Resolutions, change is hard.

Time management is about changing your relationship to time.  It is understanding what time you have and what time you don’t have.  It is about accurately knowing how long tasks take.  More importantly it is about breaking old habits.

Time management is really self management.

What Can You Do?

First recognize all change is met with some resistance.  No matter how great it seems at the beginning after 5-10 days (if you make it that long), things get tough.  Your brain wants you to return to what was before.  Here’s what you might hear:

“It’s been about a week, so, how are things going?  That’s what I thought.  No big differences.  Yep.  Well it’s time to return to our old system.  Come on, it worked for you before and you were safer than you are trying something new. Give it up for today and see how you feel.”  

You can almost hear your brain snickering behind the scenes – “Fooled her again!”

Here’s what you can do when resistance rears it’s head:

  • Focus on the bigger picture. – Why are you doing this?
  • Focus on other successful changes. – If you did it before, you can do it again.
  • Bring your attention to daily small wins.

The last bullet point is the golden nugget.  When you decide to make a change, you don’t know what the new normal looks like or feels like.  When you recognize small wins, you help to reshape what your brain thinks is normal.

Keep At It

No matter what your brain says (or what other’s in your life say), keep at it.  To re-program your brain it takes at least 21-40 consecutive repetitions to break an old habit, 90 days to put the new habit in place and 120 days until it is your new normal.  If you want to manage your time better, it takes commitment and effort.

Are you ready for the challenge?


Time Management Motivation Series

Changing behavior on your own is hard, that’s why we put together the Time Management Motivation Series. When you sign up you receive a get started guide with helpful Time Management Tips.  Then every day you will receive a little motivation.  Nothing too heavy, but enough to keep you going.  We’ll also check in from time to time.

If you’re ready to become less stressed and more productive click here!