In our culture, a lot of emphases is placed on a productivity and output. Because of this, time management gets a lot of attention in self-help and business circles. It also gets a lot of attention in corporate settings.
However, there are some old school ways of thinking about time management that are quite detrimental. These “tips” actually keep you broke rather than help you properly manage your time. Here are a few of them in no particular order.
Myth #1 Become good at multi-tasking.
Back when I had a regular job as a recruiter, multi-tasking was seen as something to aspire to. If a candidate could multitask well, then they were considered a good candidate. As a business owner who employs contractors, I now see how this is 100 percent false.
Multi-tasking causes more stress because your mind is being pulled in different directions. This actually keeps you from focusing and doing your tasks well. On the other hand, if you focus on one thing at a time you may notice that your concentration improves. You may also notice that you actually get more done because your brain isn’t fighting itself.
So yes, trying to do many things at once is terrible time management advice. It simply doesn’t work and causes too much stress.
Myth #2 Being “busy” is good.
The cult of busy also gets a lot of attention. Just ask someone how they are doing and chances are they will say, “Oh my gosh I am just so busy.” It’s almost as if we treat being busy like a badge of honor. The “busier” we are, the more we are getting done. The more we are getting done the better our time management skills.
Here’s where the problem comes in: We’re running ourselves ragged. I have seen people in my personal life break down from exhaustion because they are doing too much. And guess what? You’re not really getting anything done when you’re burned out. Nor is the burnout worth it.
Myth #3 You need to do everything and be everywhere.
Part of what is talked about in time management pieces for business owners is how to be everywhere. After all, there are several moving parts to running a business.
With the way some of these articles talk about priorities, you would think people don’t have any. What do I mean by that? Instead of telling people to focus on what actions work, they tell people that they need to do everything in order for their businesses to succeed.
For example, they tell people to hit up every networking event they can. In reality, you shouldn’t do that. You should only go to the ones that actually make sense for your business. Otherwise, you run yourself into the ground.
Time management is extremely important. The problem is a lot of the advice that is out there is outdated and making us sick. Instead of trying to manage it all, try being intentional with your actions instead. In the end, that’s what will get you further along in your business journey.
Amanda is a best-selling author of "Make Money Your Honey", a book that helps freelancers and business owners understand their relationship with money and how to make it more productive. She's driven by helping others live the most productive and fruitful way possible.