Self Management vs. Time Management

Outstanding performance is one of the keys to success that I discuss in my book “Straight Talk for Success.”  If you want to become an outstanding performer, you need to do three things.  1) Become a lifelong learner.  2) Set and achieve high goals.  3) Organize yourself; manage your time, space and stress well.

I found a great article on by David Allen called “It’s Not About Time.”  Mr. Allen suggests that too often we focus on managing our time when we should, in fact, be focused on managing ourselves.

“The savvy know self management is really an issue of what we do with ourselves during the time we have. Self-management needs to encompass managing our thoughts and emotions, and dealing effectively with our work, family and community relationships. It’s about gaining dynamic balance of control and perspective to achieve more successful outcomes and feel more relaxed along the way.
“Self-management is about knowing what to do at any given moment. It’s dealing effectively with the things we have to do to achieve our goals and fulfill our purpose. It’s also about deciding the importance of the varied and constant information coming at us.”

What do you think about David Allen’s ideas on self management?  I like them. 

I think that he is right on when he says that “Self management is about knowing what to do at any given moment.”  This means that you cannot become a slave to your to-do list.  No matter how well you plan, you will be faced with new problems and opportunities every day. 

The problems and opportunities on which you focus at any given moment in time will have a big impact on the level of your performance and, ultimately, your success.  Don’t be so focused on managing your time that you miss opportunities because they fall outside of your plan for the day.

The common sense point here is simple.  If you want to succeed in your life and career, you need to become an outstanding performer.  To become an outstanding performer, you need to become a lifelong learner, set and achieve high goals and be well organized.  Self management and time management are two important keys to becoming organized.  However, Self management is more important.  As David Allen points out, “Self management is different from time management because it allows you to respond at your best to surprises.”

That’s my take on the difference between self management and time management.  What’s yours?  As always, I’m interested in your perspective on these thoughts.  I welcome and appreciate your comments.  Thanks for reading.



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