I started reading Jenny Blake’s fine Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want this morning (Jenny: need a Life Way After College sequel and Kindle version!), and was globsmacked when I read the phrase “time management” in the intro. I’m looking forward to reading the entire book, but I just had to pound out this post.
“Time Management” is a poisoned meme; ingesting it any way, shape, form or media is a very, very bad idea.
I know, I know, you’ll say it’s just a shorthand for all the practices and methods aimed at improving personal productivity; you are probably googling right now where I’ve used the same phrase. Consider this post an act of contrition.
There never has, and there probably will never be, such a thing as “time management.” Time, at least for those who don’t get to play with supercolliders for a living, is a constant. It cannot be speeded up or slowed down or stuffed with extra needed hours. And, unless you’ve hotwired your genitals to an alarm clock, nothing, but nothing, happens at exactly at the start of any hour.
“Time management” in the last century went hand in hand with industrialism: a punctual (and time clock punching) workforce was a necessary prerequisite to manufacturing, and “scientific” management. But that was then, and this is now, and if you are reading this post you no more punch a clock than I do. So why let a catchword of the industrial age shape your thinking in this post-industrial society?
If I told you the first step to becoming more productive, to getting what you want from life, to success however you define it was “gravity management”, you’d laugh in my face. Trying to become more productive by managing time is no more an idiotic idea – and what a terrible waste it is trying to achieve it!
Words have power. And meme’s - conceptions of reality freeze-dried into phrases we seldom examine – can go boom in your face.