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Personal Productivity Secrets: Do what you never thought possible with your time and attention... and regain control of your life by Maura Nevel Thomas

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Chapter 1

Stop Trying to Manage Your Time

In this chapter

  • Regaining control of your attention
  • The lure of multitasking
  • New kinds of ADD
  • Focusing and choosing

“Time management” is a twentieth-century term that has far outlived its usefulness. The longer into the twenty-first century people continue to frame their productivity in terms of “time management,” the less efficient they will be. That’s because the traditional tools of time management are a calendar and a clock. However, rapid technological advances have made our lives far too complex to manage with these tools. Putting something on your calendar doesn’t mean it will occur, and “making time” for something doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have the experience you intended.

For example, say you schedule coffee with a colleague, but while you are together, she can’t keep her eyes off her mobile device because she’s checking her email, texting someone, or searching the Internet for the answer to a question you posed. If she’s doing all that, chances are good that she is not truly present in her experience with you. In other words, it would probably not be the meaningful dialogue that you intended when you

scheduled the date, but rather an annoying waste of time. Does this scenario sound familiar? It appears to be a common occurrence in both social and business interactions of the twenty-first century; you “spent the time” together, but because at least one person’s attention was lacking, it didn’t have the desired effect.

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