Why I Don’t Follow Time Management Rules

The one thing I never seem to have enough of is time. It really is true that the older you get the faster time flies by.

Time, for me, is all about experiencing life. Because I only have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week and 52 weeks in a year, I am always trying to make the most of that limited time. Especially, since I realize that I am not guaranteed to have another 24 hours, 7 days or 52 weeks. I have read articles about efficient time management and even attended workshops on it. Many of these resources shared some of the same basic tips.

In spite of the overwhelming evidence against my practices, I still tend to ignore some of the time management rules that seem to be foundational practices for the time management gurus. One of those tried and true rules that I ignore is designating specific times for checking and responding to email instead of keeping your email open and responding to emails as they come in. Maybe that rule has changed in recent years, but it used to be one I’d find on almost every time management resource I looked at. Today, I had a big reminder of why, for me, that isn’t always the best advice.

Always On, Always Available
Because I have a strong freelance profile on the two freelance sites I use, Guru.com and Elance.com, I often receive invitations to bid on newly posted projects. Being one of the first bidders doesn’t always give you an edge, but sometimes, if the client is in a rush, it can. Today, I got one of those invitations. A marketing firm needed a one or two line headline for a visual ad for one of their clients and they needed it in a rush. Since I didn’t necessarily ‘need’ the work and it was a small project, I was tempted to decline the invitation. Then, I thought better of it (since there were no other bidders yet) and I went ahead and put in a bid for $60. That’s may sound like a high rate for one of two lines, but shorter can actually be tougher. I might come up with a few good options in 15 minutes (I did) or it might take me a couple of hours.

Because the client was in a hurry, I had a strong profile with excellent feedback and I bid on the job right away, I got the job and made a very quick $60.00. If I had waited to check my email only at certain intervals during my day, someone else would have probably been awarded the job before I even looked at the email.

What Time Management Style Fits With Your Personality?
Now, you must understand that this type of multi-tasking and flitting from one thing to another fits very well with my personality; it doesn’t work for everyone. But that is exactly my point in bringing it up. Many people who do organizational and time management seminars seem to be people who thrive on order. They work on a project until it’s done and then move on to the next. Although, I don’t like being interrupted by outside forces when I’m trying to concentrate on writing something, I’m quite okay with ‘interrupting’ myself and if I am interrupting from other sources, I can deal with it and pick up where I left off.

Part of my success as a freelance writer can be attributed to be available whenever a client needs me, but that DOES NOT mean that you should operate that way. You may not be like me. I know another successful freelancer who tries to schedule all her ‘meetings’ on one day of the week. I know writers to spend days taking notes on various articles they intend to write and then sit down and write then all at once. (Drives me crazy just to think about it!)

The whole point, of course, is that advice is just that – advice. It is good to try out suggestions that may make you more efficient with your time, but it is important to remember, that what works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for another. We need to be okay with that.

Now excuse me. I need to go check my email accounts and see if that $60 payment came through yet or not. 😉

What’s your take on efficient time management?

Would love to hear your comments