Time Management: Why it is futile

Time management is a topic that will always be with us. In a recent leadership workshop, one of the participants, a professor of physics, asked me about it. I thought that the wise words of Lewis Carroll, the pseudonym of Oxford mathematician Charles Dodgson, on time management might appeal to him. They did. They illustrate the futility of classical time management. Carroll’s insight, almost 150 years ago, is that we’re better off making friends with time, than trying to manage or beat him (not it).  Here is the passage, from Chapter 7 of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, that sums up the futility of attempting to manage time.
Alice sighed wearily. “I think you might do something better with the time”, she said, “than wasting it in asking riddles that have no answers.” “If you knew time as well as I do”, said the Hatter, “you wouldn’t talk about wasting it. It’s him.” “I don’t know what you mean”, said Alice. “Of course you don’t!”, the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. “I dare say you never even spoke to time!” “Perhaps not”, Alice cautiously replied; “but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.” “Ah! That accounts for it”, said the Hatter. “He won’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o’clock in the morning, just in time to begin lessons: you’d only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!”

If you can drop the illusion that you need time management, what perspective does that open up for your day? How could you make friends with time?

Photo: eBooks@Adelaide

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