If everyone agrees that excellent time management is one of the most desirable personal skills, why is it that so few people can be described as “well organized” or “efficient”?
I have found that many people have mental barriers and hold ideas about time management that simply aren’t true. The problem is that if you believe something to be true, it becomes true for you. You are not what you think you are; but what you think, you are. Here are a few mental barriers to effective time management:
1. Fear of loss of naturalness and spontaneity. One of the mental barriers, or negative beliefs, of time management is that if you become too well organized, you will become cold, calculating and unemotional. Some people feel that they will lose their spontaneity and freedom if they are extremely efficient. They will become unable to ‘‘go with the flow,’’ to express themselves openly and honestly. These people believe managing their time well makes them too rigid and inflexible.
This turns out not to be true at all. Many people hide behind this false idea and use it as an excuse for not disciplining themselves the way they know they should. The fact is that people who are disorganized are not spontaneous but often confused and frantic. Often they suffer a good deal of stress caused by their disorganized state. Ironically, the better organized you are, the more time and opportunity you have to be truly relaxed, truly spontaneous, truly happy.
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The key is structuring and organizing everything you possibly can. This includes thinking ahead, planning for contingencies, preparing thoroughly and focusing on specific results. Only when you have taken control, can you be completely relaxed and spontaneous when the circumstances warrant it. The better organized you are in dealing with the factors that are under your control, the greater freedom and flexibility you have to quickly make changes when necessary.
2. Negative mental programming. Another mental barrier that hinders excellent time management is negative programming, which is often picked up from parents but also from other influential authority figures. If, as a child, you were told by parents or others that you were messy, chronically late or incapable of finishing what you started, you may still be unconsciously obeying these commands as an adult.