We never seem to have enough of it. And that which we do have is often underutilised. Of all the resources we have to manage, time is the most difficult, partly because we have to utilise the very resource we are trying to manage, to manage it.
Perhaps one of the biggest time-wasters is a tool which claims to help with time-management: the to-do list. While it seems perfectly logical, to-do lists can quickly evolve into something anxiety provoking as the number of items increases as the day or week progresses. The thought that crossing an item off the list would provide a sense of accomplishment is seldom true as most people are in a constant state of catch-up, adding more items than are crossed off.
As “the list” comprises tasks that need to be completed today, or this week, they are done in spare time (but we make the list to manage our time…?) Imagine a day full of meetings and a to-do list (in those helpful side columns of a diary) consisting of ten items: there simply is no time to do those tasks on that day.
The to-do list should be a start of a plan, not the plan itself, because simply knowing what tasks need to be done does not help if they are not scheduled into the day. And with most people fulfilling multiple roles in a day, chunking those tasks is equally as important as scheduling them into the day.