Why Time Management is Dead and What to Do About It

Airline food, harmonicas, Donald Trump’s haircut—some things never change. But evolution will always require entrepreneurs to rise to the occasion, or risk extinction.

One area where most people desperately need an upgrade is time management. Progress past those primitive productivity practices with this quick and hip small business tip.

Click to tweet this: The time management practices of the 80s are dead, buried and long gone. It’s time to evolve. @DaveCrenshaw

Video transcription:

I teach and talk about time management a lot. But in truth, time management as an art or a science is dead.

The methods that most people are using now are completely outdated. They were good in the eighties but they’re no longer useful anymore. Why? What has changed since then?

Well, it comes down to the pace of our lives. We have many more distractions than we had in the eighties, and we have far more interruptions than we were accustomed to in the nineties.

So what we really need instead of time management is focus management. This means that we cultivate the ability to maintain focus on what’s most important, to continue working on what we really need to do despite all the interruptions and distractions in our day.

And that’s what I’d like you to focus on today. Please share on the comments section below what’s one thing you’ll do today to manage your focus.

Also, if you’ve got any questions you’d like me to answer in a future video, ask that below as well.

Thanks for watching. Now manage your focus.

Join the conversation: What’s one thing you’ll do today to manage your focus?

I respond to every question and comment. So, please, join the conversation!

Tired of those 12-hour workdays? What if there was a simple formula to double your productivity by working fewer hours? Find freedom with a free copy of Dave’s new book, The Result: A Practical, Proven Formula for Getting What You Want.

37 Archived Responses to “Why Time Management is Dead and What to Do About It”

  1. Zeya says:

    I will focus on my activity with my clients today. Provide the service needed with enough empathy and compassion and eliminate the unnecessary chit chat that eats away minutes. I see about 4-5 clients an hour so you can see how precious those minutes are.

  2. What’s the best way to keep that focus, Dave? I find that even when I write down what are my top three things I need to focus on for the day, I get distracted and lose that focus very early and sometimes never get it back.

    • Dave Crenshaw says:

      Hi, Gabe. I know the practice you just brought up (write down top 3, etc.) is recommended by many, but I find it to not work myself. I have found many crazy-busy entrepreneurs, salespeople, stay-at-home-parents, and typical human beings would agree. There are just too many distractions in the average person’s for that to hold up.

      In my experience there is no substitute for properly using a calendar, with reminders.

      Have you been through my Time Management Fundamentals course on lynda.com? http://bit.ly/TimeCourse If not, I strongly recommend it. It will help you build a comprehensive system to maintain focus.

  3. bdelidow says:

    De-ding… I turn off the email arrival notices on my computer and my phone, so I don’t get that jolt every time it goes off. I also cut time into chunks where I work only on one thing and don’t allow other stuff in. Even 20 minutes can be very productive.

  4. Mike Rich says:

    Dave, I love to visit! After the “business” discussion, I won’t abandon, but will be more conscious of, and spend a little less time with the “visiting teaching” portion of my meetings.

    • Dave Crenshaw says:

      Thanks, Mike. I find the “hard stop” expectation works well to cut this off. As in, as the beginning of a meeting, or even in the middle, saying, “Hey, I love talking with you. I’ve got a hard stop at the top of the hour, so I wanted to give you a heads up and have you help me so we end on time, too.”

  5. Kevin says:

    I will say “no.” No to interruption, no to “shiny stuff,” and no to things I might “rather be doing.”

  6. Working in a pair helps to focus on solving actual problem.
    It could be pair programming or discussing customer problems.

    • Dave Crenshaw says:

      Thank you , Dennis. I’ve seen the social effect of having that 2nd person in the room make a difference for many. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. I find that having a newly written list of the immediate things that need to be done for the day in front of me while I am working keeps me focused. In addition, I feel less frustrated because I can see my progress by the things I have crossed off as the day passes so I am reminded that I am making progress even though it doesn’t feel like it sometimes!
    PS I love your videos!

  8. Melanie says:

    I pick a project, gather what I need for it, and give myself 90 minutes to work on only that project with no interruptions. I get a lot done when I do this! Then take a 30 min break.

  9. Dave,
    I love your message and focus. I like the Covey method (yup its from the 80’s) as its all about prioritizing and effectiveness. I don’t think that changed.

    • Dave Crenshaw says:

      Hey, Jacob. Thanks for the word of support! Welcome to the site.

      Ah, Covey. I remember him well. He was an early inspiration for me. I agree that the principles he taught and Franklin-Covey still teaches are still true. They are timeless.

      However, I believe the system is severely outdated. It’s important to separate timeless principles from practices which need to evolve over time. For one example, the principle of focusing on what matters most: timeless. The practice of prioritizing ABC123: outdated. Priority is a function of time. We need something more streamlined and brainless in a world where everything is presented as both urgent and important.

      Even in the 7 Habits book, Cover mentions how there are multiple generations of time management. He presented his method as the 3rd generation. Yet how well has F-C evolved? Where was their 4th generation? How many people are still using a Franklin planner? Ouch. It’s part of the reason why the company has downsized radically over the last decade.

      Our world is so fast paced that we now need “set and forget”, near automatic, methods of protecting our focus in a world that is addicted to the Culture of Now.

  10. Gabe V. says:

    good video, keep them coming!

  11. David says:

    Hi, Dave, just want to ask something, I want to start a very small web business, this is the scenario, one shop wants me to build a site for them, I have a friend who is a programmer that I teach by giving resources to become a developer, then after he taught himself he is now willing to develop or offer his services to me, on what percentage of profit should I give this programmer since I am the one who contact a client for him and I am also the one who talk to the client and get requirements, lets say the client pays me 500 dollars, how much is mine and how much should I give to the programmer who build the whole website

  12. David says:

    Sir I had a two questions I know this is too much but you are my only hope I am employed
    and I want to start a business and I watched this video which really helps me a lot on what to do
    to start https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfvY8H-n9dk

    The problem is I have a two business idea, the first one is web/online marketing services because I am on
    that space, the second one, is i have an idea for a web application that I think is good, the problem is
    I dont know which one should I do first, or is it possible to do both,

    the second question is about that web application, again this question is maybe the most
    important question that I will ever ask, I already research the market for this web application
    I do the research and I also do the UX/UI, and also the business side, everything, the problem is,
    I want somebody to help me to develop this, should I make this a partner since his only participation
    is to program what I draw, its like a situation of steve jobs and wozniak, wozniak is the one who
    build it but jobs is the one who sells it, the key difference here is, I am the one who got the idea
    and actually draw the program flow and I will be the one who will sell it and make it happen, the only thing
    is someone will program it.

    Will I make this a partner? how can I protect myself?and If I will make him a partner what is the
    right percentage or equity should I give him?

    Thanks Dave, God Bless you

  13. Wilder says:

    Hi Dave, I watched your course on lynda.com, it has been very helpful, however I still have a question regarding how to implement those management rules and principles if the days in which there are planned activities I have to take days off for an emergency or sickness? Or how to get back on track when returning from vacations?


  14. As “Sales manager” of our company I recently have brought on two new sales people, a move which was necessitated by one of my partners switching his focus to labour savings and productivity through mechanization and automation. I set up a desk for one of these new team members in my office and the other just outside so that I could coach them, answer their questions instantly and “bring them up to speed as quickly as possible”. But I have lost my focus! Watching your material has inspired me to go buy a rug at Home Depot today and set up shop in a small but private office downstairs where I will have time to think and strategize rather than this constant motion! I will miss my nice picture window but ahh the power of focus!