Self-Management vs. Time ManagementAUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
“People in general, and knowledge workers in particular, grow according to the demands they make on themselves.” - Peter F. Drucker
There is no doubt that time management has acquired great relevance in our society in recent decades. The feeling of “having too much to do and not enough time available” is not unfamiliar to almost anyone. We have come to realize that time is a very valuable resource and that, in order to be efficient, we need to make the best use of it, seeking the best possible result with the least possible effort.
To add further complexity to this management, change is a constant nowadays, the boundaries between our responsibilities are becoming increasingly blurred and the balance between professional and personal life is becoming more difficult to reconcile each day.
The consequences of not managing our lives well are too important to be ignored. Among them, a significant increase in our stress and anxiety levels, which is becoming the disease of the 21st century. It’s not a coincidence that it’s the biggest cause of sick leave in the workplace nowadays.
Time management has been evolving and adapting to the evolution of society itself, adding new methods, technologies and work habits at each stage in order to keep our world under control.
At an early stage, we began to recognize that there was a large number of activities to which we could dedicate our time and energy. We tried to find a place to store them and to-do lists appeared.
The second stage tried to integrate the activities in the future. Calendars and agendas appeared and time planning began.
The third generation was a major breakthrough. The idea of prioritizing and comparing the value of different tasks was added. Here you start to define goals and prioritize tasks based on them. For most people, especially in the business world, this is the system that still prevails.
However, a very different fourth generation, more focused on individual management than on time management per se, has been emerging for years.
In a society in which repetitive and routine tasks are being automated and the main contribution of most workers is knowledge, each individual must be able to manage himself, define his work, set goals and be accountable for what he can contribute.
Self-management is the ability to prioritize goals, decide what needs to be done and be responsible for completing the necessary actions. A fundamental skill today is to be able to clearly differentiate what is important from what is urgent, and to put both our attention and our energy into what will lead us to our highest goals, which contributes to our values.
One way to improve your self-management skills is to use personal management methods that help you organize yourself in an effective and coherent way, clearly defining your goals in each of your areas of focus, and executing actions according to your priorities.