Is Time Management A Skill?

acceptance core motivations dynamic flow dynamic time management effectiveness efficiency flow mindset momentum motivation productivity hack success time management skills time management toolkit Jul 14, 2023
Is Time Management a Skill - someone smiling, effortlessly balancing many tasks

The short answer is NO, time management is not just a skill. In fact, it's this type of thinking that has held people back from achieving their goals for...ever!

There are some tactics you can use and there is a lot of knowledge that will enable you to deploy the energy you need to get things done, but whilst these could be considered to be skills, and this is important, they're only half the job.

The Limitation of Skills

If we approach Time Management from a skills basis we will never be short of people sharing their "Top 10 Lists" and latest productivity hack. However, within days of trying them out, the majority of people find themselves looking for the next hack because the first one didn't stick.

Ultimately, it's the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency, as many of the great time management pioneers such as Stephen Covey and Brian Tracy taught us, is about doing things right. Whereas effectiveness is about doing the right things.

A new tactic, a great life hack will help us do things more efficiently, but if it has no context, if there is no real motivation to improve, even the quick hack can soon be forgotten. So, we may build the skill, temporarily, but it doesn't stick and our time management aspirations dwindle.

An "AHA" Moment!

The reason I first became fascinated with this topic was because I saw so many colleagues coming back from time management courses, excited to deploy their new skills but within weeks, flounder on the rocks of frustration. They would be frustrated with themselves. They knew the process was simple so why couldn't they just do it?

The "AHA" Moment came when I thought hard about my own practice. My excitement with the time management toolkit was not because it came with some new, shiny toys (in those days leather-bound filofaxes were all the rage) but because I was excited about what it could do for me - what it could help me achieve. In short, my WHY was clear.

I had the motivation to stick with it and become a productive person.

I was working with a fantastic group this week and asked the question, "How productive are we on our last day of work before a holiday?" Their answers were instantaneous:


"I'm a delegating machine."

"Clear communication helps me create boundaries and deflect anything which is not a priority."

"I go into work with a prioritised list, start at the top, work my way through it and get out of there."

"My focus is obvious for all to see."

The lesson is clear. We all know the skills we need to use, and when we're sufficiently motivated, it happens!

From Time Management to Dynamic Flow

More recently, we have become aware of the notion of Flow. We all recognise when we're "In Flow", time is forgotten, energy is seemingly unlimited and we move through our activities effortlessly.

I wanted to identify how "flow" could become more accessible.

My knowledge of how people can overcome setbacks, work through change and achieve breakthroughs in their lives and careers, revealed one truth. Nothing happens until we Accept reality.

Acceptance is key when there is nothing we can do to control or influence a situation. We may wish for things to be different, but wishing will not make it so and moaning doesn't help either.

As soon as we "accept", we free up our energy to focus on the things we can do. Now, our time management skills can be utilised, we remember what our core motivations are and we build momentum. Imagine the words "management" and "acceptance" moving around the infinite symbol below. They would glide around freely and the pace would soon gather. This is what we can all access, if we adopt the right mindset and expect success.

If you want to explore this in detail and spend more of your time in flow, check out Dynamic Time Management.

Making Change Your Friend

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Leaders are not only required to cope with change but to create the environment in which everyone can thrive. Simon's keynote presentations and whole audience facilitation events enable you and your organisation to transform and emerge as centres for inclusivity, agility and compassion. Get in touch to discuss your challenges.