Is the task list the best way to manage our time?

John Reeve | June 13th, 2008 | ,

One of the major flaws with our efforts to better manage our time is that we believe we can accomplish more if we have the right system in place. Take your pick from any number of time management systems that make this promise. Before we can manage our time better, we need to take a step back and redefine what it is we are trying to manage. Most of us are simply trying to do too much. We need to reduce the number of items or we’ll waste time checking off things that shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Once we’ve whittled down our list we can revisit the various systems for getting things done. But should we consider throwing out the list altogether? Give some thought to a compelling approach suggested by Linda Stone at The Huffington Post. She suggests we not be so list-centric and instead focus our attention on scheduled and intentional times; moments devoid of interruption.

She makes some great points. Maybe the reason we have such difficulty managing our time isn’t just that we are trying to do too much, we also have unprecedented technologies interfering with our lives:

Untethered technology gives us the freedom to do nearly anything, anytime, anywhere. It can also enslave us – we feel compelled to use it where ever it is. Technology is neutral. How, when and where we use it is up to us.

Is our fear of the off switch resulting in more encumbered lives more difficult to manage? Maybe. But I won’t be throwing out my task lists any time soon. I will, however, start filtering better what gets on that list and how I tackle my daily tasks.

Leave a Reply

Intervals Blog

A collection of useful tips, tales and opinions based on decades of collective experience designing and developing web sites and web-based applications.

What is Intervals?

Intervals is online time, task and project management software built by and for web designers, developers and creatives.
Learn more…

John Reeve
Author Profile
John Reeve

John is a co-founder, web designer and developer at Pelago. His blog posts are inspired by everyday encounters with designers, developers, creatives and small businesses in general. John is an avid reader and road cyclist.
» More about John
» Read posts by John

Jennifer Payne
Author Profile
Jennifer Payne

Jennifer is the Director of Quality and Efficiency at Pelago. Her blog posts are based largely on her experience working with teams to improve harmony and productivity. Jennifer is a cat person.
» More about Jennifer
» Read posts by Jennifer

Michael Payne
Author Profile
Michael Payne

Michael is a co-founder and product architect at Pelago. His contributions stem from experiences managing the development process behind web sites and web-based applications such as Intervals. Michael drives a 1990 Volkswagen Carat with a rebuilt 2.4 liter engine from GoWesty.
» More about Michael
» Read posts by Michael
Videos, tips & tricks