By Kathleen Federici, MEd

I hear many people talk about time management and that they need to manage time better. I am skeptical about this, so I researched the concept. It seems to me that we cannot manage time. There are 60 seconds in a minute no matter what you do!

I learned about a concept called self-management. This intrigued me as I really never bought into time management but I can manage myself. Self-management is about organizing myself, my tasks, and my stress. What can I realistically get done in the time I have?

I started by asking myself a question. For example, what time of the day am I most mentally alert and able to really focus to get strategic work accomplished? I have to be aware of the concept of being flexible to accommodate the spontaneous, immediate tasks that might be unwelcome in the course of a work day. This is where I find managing stress while managing those 60 seconds each minute comes into focus.

Sometimes a to-do list can be thought of as a performance and impact list. As I practice self-management instead of time management, I am going to try and figure out daily ways to respond to the most impactful surprises. Author Alan Lakein wrote, “Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.” I say, “Take that, Father Time”. Now, if only I can find a time-freezing bubble to keep my kids in! They are growing up too fast.

Kathleen Federici, MEd, is IPI’s director of professional development.