I watched an intriguing video this afternoon about the fallacy of time management. The gist of the speech was that time is untouchable. Attempting to “manage” time is utterly foolish because we cannot speed it up or slow it down. All we can do is better manage ourselves.
It reminded me of a family friend. Whenever we meet for lunch, she’s always late… not just a few minutes late, but 30-minutes to an hour! She comes rushing in like the Tazmanian devil, apologizing profusely for her tardiness and spouting off things that caused her to get held up. It’s gotten to the point that she asked if we’d tell her to meet us an hour ahead of the time we actually plan on seeing her!
Sadly, she says the same thing after each apology: “I really need to work on time management.” Until she works on managing herself, however, she will perpetuate the bad habit of being chronically late.
This got me thinking of a similar issue… Many Americans believe that if they can find a medication to manage their symptoms, they’ll be healthy.
A classic example of symptom-management is when people pop a pill for chronic headaches. Headaches are a symptom designed to warn you that something is wrong internally. The cause of the headache doesn’t vanish when you take Advil. The pain may subside, but if the headache comes back over and over again, it’s a bit foolish to think that all you need is more Advil.
To better understand symptoms, it might be helpful if you think of them as a newborn baby crying for attention… Is the baby crying because it wants some Excedrin? Probably not!
Now, you can believe that you’re managing time just like you can believe that over-the-counter medicine is fixing your health problem, but the cold hard truth is that both are fallacies.
Effective change requires you to take a step back and identify the source of the problem.