Mallory Welsh, LCSW

I work with many clients who are overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, and sometimes even depressed at their jobs because they have stressful careers where there is a ton of responsibilities on their plate. Sometimes my clients report they get overwhelmed due to lacking in time management skills at their job. My job as their clinical therapist is to help the client understand possible reasons why they are struggling with time management skills and then also possible coping skills to manage their busy work schedule.

I recently read an article from Fast Company, “5 lies you’ve been told about time management”  by author Elizabeth Grace Saunders. Saunders discusses that unfortunately people who struggle with time management skills may be given completely poor coping skills or lies about it.

Below are the 5 misconceptions about time management skills that Saunders outlines in her article.

  • If you were better with your time, you can do everything. False. People are falsely told that if they could better manage their time, then they can do everything all at once. Maybe some people can have the most amazing career, raise several children, have a mansion, do triathlons, and learn an entirely new language. While I admire people who seem to be doing everything all at once, I can only imagine that they are incredibly overwhelmed and something in that list is getting over looked, whether it is their significant other, children, or missing assignments at their job. Saunders recommends that instead of attempting to do everything all at once, try to take a step back and reflect on your absolute top priorities/values/commitments. The first step in having better time management skills is: identifying you cannot do it all and that some things need to be eliminated from your full plate.
  • There’s only one way to be successful at time management. Nope! Not one tip works for everyone as we are all different. Some people thrive off of making hand written lists, using excel lists, online calendar, physical planner, essentially those that prefer digital tools while others prefer pen and paper, and some may like to use a little of each based on their to do lists. It is the individual’s responsibility to assess what they think works best for them, as one system certainly cannot work for everyone due to the fact that we all have different personalities.
  • You can figure out time management skills immediately. False again. Making changes in your habits takes time. The reason it takes time is simply due to it is modifying behaviors that you have done for years or perhaps your entire life. Time management skills are not as simple as one may think. They are reprogramming how one thinks about time, how boundaries are implemented, how to make important decisions, how well you focus, how you plan your day, and the list goes on. Adjusting all of those things will not be solved immediately, as there will be a trial and error period.
  • 24/7 tight schedule is needed. Nope again. While it is important to schedule your day with goals and intentions, figuring that out to the very hour/half hour/minute does not allow for flexibility. Flexibility includes maybe engaging with some coworkers, going to the rest room, eating lunch, an impromptu coffee break, whatever it may be, or perhaps in the evening allowing yourself time to simply reset and recharge and to reflect on your day. Permission to rest is crucial for time management development skills.
  • You’re doomed. That is definitely false! Just because you are struggling with time management now, does not mean that will be something you struggle with the rest of your life. Time management skills are skills that can be learned, and just because it may not be your strength, it can certainly be adapted and no longer a weakness for you. All that is needed is some patience, self-compassion, and practice in order to develop affective time management skills that work for you!

If you are currently struggling with time management skills, it may be a good idea to connect with one of our skilled counselors at Symmetry Counseling today. You can contact them at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment.