Richard Perry

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Time Management

  |     |   Time Management, Thoughts

I recently read an article on the Guardian website (thanks Graham :smile:) about time management that really got me thinking. In a nutshell, I feel that the Guardian article has got the right idea, time management, at least the way it is pushed today, is flawed and not actually helpful to anyone. Over the years, I’ve been on a number of different management courses, including specific time management courses, through work. After each course, I diligently try to implement the practices and ideas given and within a couple of weeks, I’m more stressed than I was before! I always put this down to the fact that my workload had increased and I was just getting overwhelmed.

Most of us have experienced this creeping sense of being overwhelmed: the feeling not merely that our lives are full of activity – that can be exhilarating – but that time is slipping out of our control.

Now I can see it from a different perspective. We are always being told that we need to work faster, more efficiently and get more done, but by trying to do this we are setting ourselves up for failure. I’ve tried a number of different ‘productivity’ apps and methodologies to enable me to work more efficiently and to try to get more time, but time is fixed. You can’t get more time so why try? The biggest problem I found with the various ‘productivity’ apps and methods was that I was spending more time logging what I was doing and what I had to do that I actually had less time to do my job. It seems to me that all these management courses, and even society as a whole, would prefer us to work ourselves into oblivion.

I left my previous job just before George was born so that I would have more time to spend with him. This was not me trying to make more time, but instead to reduce the amount of time I spent travelling to and from work. Working harder, and putting more pressure on ourselves in the pursuit of improved efficiency and increased productivity is not giving us fulfillment. Modern technology is causing our work lives and home lives to merge inextricably tighter. With our work emails being delivered straight to our mobile phones, we are no longer away from work. If you cannot switch off from work once you leave, then the stresses you deal with during the work day bleed into your down time. This will more than likely affect how well you can relax and recover, potentially leading to anxiety and stress related illnesses because you cannot get away from it all.

The trouble with modern ‘Time Management’ philosophies (at least the ones that I have been taught, or have researched myself) is that when your time is managed completely, there is no time left for the dealing with the unforeseen issues and problems that arise all the time, especially in Construction! So I have abandoned all the lessons I have learnt and found that I am perfectly capable of managing my time simply by leaving work in work and recording deadlines on my work calendar to make sure I do not miss them. In my opinion, the sooner society as a whole realises that life is not all about work, the happier we will be.


Obviously this article is solely my personal opinion and is not based on any hard evidence other than my own perspective so take it with a pinch of salt, but if it resonates with you, then I would urge you to read the Guardian article and do a bit more research yourself.


  1. Burkeman, O. (2016). Why time management is ruining our lives. The Guardian [online]. Available at:
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