Time Management is a Lie

August 25, 2011

We see and hear the words “time management” everywhere we go. But time management is a misnomer. To be blunt, it’s total B.S.

Time management would tell us that our productivity is measured by the results we get in a given time period. But if that’s true, how is it that a salesperson, for example, can make the same exact number of sales on two different days (the same amount of results in the same amount of time), yet feel extremely productive one day and totally unproductive the next?

The answer is only found when we stop believing the lie of so-called “time management.”

What exactly is the lie of time management? The lie is that we can increase our productivity by shortening the time it takes to produce a specific result. There are two flaws in this logic.

First, time is not a variable in the equation of productivity. You can choose to do something in a way that takes less clock time than the alternative, but time did not change; your choice changed. You chose a different process, and the duration of that process was less.

If you’re not quite understanding this important distinction, then think of a clock like a ruler. You can cut an object shorter in length, but the ruler did not change. Those whose job it is to make things smaller don’t focus on “ruler management,” do they? Choice, not time, is the relevant variable.

Second, this traditional objective understanding of productivity, though useful in evaluating the efficiency of assembly lines, doesn’t address your subjective feeling of productivity.

Validate this from your own experience: Think of a specific time when you were very busy and felt frustrated because you “didn’t have the time” to focus on what you really wanted to do. All of the results of that busy-ness didn’t make you feel productive, did they? Now think back to a time when you finally followed through on something important that you’d wanted to do for several weeks or even months. That one result made you feel very productive, didn’t it?

How is that possible? Many results = not productive. One result = productive. That doesn’t make sense in the traditional paradigm of “time management.”

In my experience helping people with their productivity challenges, I’ve never found the time-centered concept of productivity to describe accurately anyone’s actual experience of productivity. When a concept does not fit actual experience, it’s time for a new concept. So let’s redefine productivity to make it more meaningful and useful to us.

PRODUCTIVITY: The feeling you get from making progress on the things that are most important to you

Results by themselves never create a feeling of productivity. It’s your relationship to those results—how important they are to you—that determines how productive you feel. When you feel unproductive, it’s not that you didn’t produce results, it’s that you didn’t produce the results that were most important to you.

This begs a question that many people under the spell of “time management” forget to ask themselves: “What’s important to me?”

You may be thinking, “Of course I know what’s important to me.” But do you? Do you really know what’s most important to you? Do you know why it’s so important? And maybe most sobering of all, can you explain—if it is indeed so important to you—why you so often choose to focus on things that are less important?

Anytime you feel busy, but not productive, you’re neglecting what’s most important to you and focusing on what isn’t. This all too common “busy, not productive” feeling is a natural consequence of focusing on how much you can do and how fast you can do it.

So instead of trying to “manage time,” focus on making more effective choices:

  1. Identify what’s most important to you, and then…
  2. Choose as often as possible to focus on what’s most important to you, while you…
  3. Work to understand and overcome the obstacles that prevent or distract you from focusing on what’s most important to you.

Each of these steps can be challenging; they are skills that must be developed. But the good news is, they are just skills—learnable skills that you can master.

And yes, on a balance sheet or annual report, objective results matter. But in your personal experience of life, your relationship to the results you produce, not simply the results themselves, determines how productive you feel. When you understand that difference, and you learn to view productivity as a feeling, you open yourself to real and lasting solutions to your so-called “time management” problems.

(Adapted from Peaceful Productivity Now by Curtis G. Schmitt.)


Want to master the process of making powerful and effective choices?

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In just the first 10 pages, you’ll discover:

  • The source of your personal power
  • The most useful and effective way to understand time
  • The two different “types” of time, and why one causes stress but the other doesn’t
  • What you’re actually managing when you think you’re “managing time”
  • And, most importantly, how to once and for all solve your “time-related” problems

You can continue to scapegoat “time” as the source of your stress, or you can learn how to…

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Should You Spend Money to Achieve Your Goals?

August 11, 2011

This is the first in a series of “Biggest Blunders” articles I’m posting about avoiding key mistakes when it comes to getting what you want and achieving your biggest goals. To begin the series, I’m going to make a shocking statement:

Don’t spend your money on coaching!

You heard me right…

Mistake #1: Buying coaching

This may strike you as odd—with me being a coach and all. But that’s what qualifies me to make such a statement.

As someone who has coached very successful entrepreneurs, busy professionals, writers & filmmakers, and stay-at-home moms, I can tell you that I wouldn’t spend a dime on coaching.

BUT… here’s a list of things I would personally (and very happily) spend my money on:

  • Doubling my business in 6 months
  • Attracting a wonderful woman into my life as my romantic partner
  • Getting “6-pack abs”
  • Simplifying my life to eliminate physical and mental clutter
  • Learning how to achieve deeper and deeper states of meditation and quiet my mind
  • Taking my favorite hobbies (like yoga) to the next level
  • Learning how to cook nutritious and delicious food that’s easy to prepare

You probably have a similar list of the kinds of results that you want in your life. And some of those goals are probably important enough for you to spend money on so you can achieve them, right?

Well, here’s my expert advice:

Never spend money on coaching—spend money on getting results.

Better yet, spend money getting the results that are most important to you so you can make your life richer and more rewarding.

Coaching is not bad. But the kind of coaching you get can be, especially when you haven’t first figured out what’s most important to you.

Done right and with a clear objective, coaching is still the most reliable and efficient way to help people achieve greater results.

Don’t believe me? Ask those who are the very best in their field how important coaching is to their success. Every super-successful athlete or business person or super-mom has key people in their lives—oftentimes, coaches—who help them break through obstacles and achieve incredible things. Sometimes it’s a parent or spouse…sometimes it’s a mentor…or sometimes it’s a “success partner” they hired (a tutor, a coach, a trainer, etc.).

But here’s the key distinction: These successful achievers aren’t paying money for coaching. They’re paying for results! And if they don’t get what they want, they move on very quickly and find someone else who can deliver results.

When we get clear on the results we want—and have a coach that understands his/her role in helping us achieve our goals—what can happen?

Here are some examples of results my one-on-one coaching clients wanted in their lives—and got:

  • A business coaching client of mine is an entrepreneur who wanted $10,000 in new sales in 90 days. Instead, he sold $14,000 in contracts in that time!
  • A life coaching client wanted to lose 30 lbs in one year. He lost 32 lbs in just 9 months—achieving his lowest weight in 10 years—and he’s kept it off!
  • Another business coaching client wanted more customers. Together, we more than doubled her clientele (from 80 to 195 clients)!
  • And another life coaching client wanted to eliminate her $15,000 debt. In just two years, she was not only debt-free but she’d saved an additional $20,000!

For these people, it was easy to make the decision to hire a coach…once they were clear on the results they wanted. Clarity made it easy to choose coaching as the best path to their goal—beyond their goal, in fact!

Coaching is the “how,” not the “what.”

People who aren’t clear on the “what” hire a coach too soon, and then get discouraged or disillusioned. Many even jump to the mistaken conclusion that “coaching is useless.” And then when they do get clear on what they want, they miss out on success because they don’t hire a coach who can guide them to their goal.

So knowing how important a coach can be to your success, are you ready to spend your money on coaching?

No! That was a trick question! Remember, you do not spend money on coaching. You spend money on getting results!

As long as you remember that one rule, you’re ready to move on and ask yourself two important questions:

  1. What results do I want?
  2. What are those results worth to me?

If the results you want are worth paying for, then start looking for a coach. I guarantee there’s a coach out there who has a track record of helping people just like you get the results you want!

Got it? Good.  🙂


What do you want, and how important is it to you?

If you’re not clear on the answer to that question, or if you are clear and want to find out how to get results faster and easier than you think is possible, then it’s time to get AMP’d!

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  • A clear, written description of your top goal/results
  • A 3-stage plan for achieving them
  • A new awareness of the hidden challenges that slow you down or sabotage your progress
  • A deep understanding of why your goals are important to you, so you can always generate the energy and motivation needed for success

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