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The hamster, the juggler and the time multiplier

What’s the difference between “time management” and “self management?” How can we prioritize? Can we really manage our time without running like crazy between one task and the next?

The new guide to effective time management according to theories of Rory Vaden.

First article in the series

Imagine a hamster on a spin wheel. Running. Running. Running. But going nowhere. Would you want to take its place?

Now imagine a juggler. Two balls. Three. Four. Ten. Would you want to take the juggler’s place?

And now to the less pleasant news. If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’re one of the two: hamster, or juggler. That’s probably what your time management looks like.

But don’t get upset. You’re not alone, you know that. Most of us handle our lives as though caught in a whirlwind: we dash from one task to the next(hamster model) or are constantly rescheduling (juggler). Not because we have no choice: simply because that’s what we were taught when it came to time management.

The term “time management” came about in the late 1950s and was itself born of the production lines from the start of that century. Anyone who’s seen Charlie Chaplin’s brilliant movie “Modern Times,” and the sorry misadventures of that production line, will understand the comparison.

At the time, the name of the game in time management was: everything is measured in time used, and a worker was awarded the label of excellence for producing maximum outputs in minimum time. By the mid-1900s this one-dimensional model was also being applied to home life.

The result, as mentioned, was that people ended up racing from one task to another and never getting to the end of their to-do lists.

The next model to appear was two-dimensional and put forward by Steven Covey in the 1980s. It trained us to think in terms of managing our time relative to prioritizing.

Currently it sounds too obvious to be worth mentioning: draw up a list of tasks and then rank them as more important, or less so. What you jotted down on line 7 of your list, for example, may actually turn out to be top priority when compared to the other tasks, and moved into a more urgent position.

This model provided modern humanity with a more effective technique for managing time and… yes… the important tasks received appropriate attention, but what about the rest? They just accumulated, and kept accumulating, and the outcome was that most people these days still find themselves racing between tasks.

We’ve got our digital diaries, our popup reminders, our flashing notes on the computer, and most of us feel like we’re just not getting things done. How can that be possible?

The reason is that time can’t be managed.

Let’s say that again.

Time cannot be managed!
It ticks away at a consistent speed, irrelevant of the tasks we’ve set ourselves. The name of the game these days is: self management. And that’s what will allow you to enter the exclusive club of time multipliers.

Some people are born multipliers. Others need to learn how to do it. In this series of articles you’ll learn the four ways to manage yourself correctly: elimination (how to say “no”), automation, delegation, and lastly, purposeful procrastination. Taken together, these four methods are your new path to correctly managing your self without guilt trips and without feeling choked. Eureka!

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