Monday, March 5, 2012

Time management books are not awesome

I generally enjoy keeping this blog very much about my creative and witchy interests, but for just a moment, I want to address a subject I encounter quite a bit in my work as a life coach: time management books. The folks who become my clients are curious and motivated to grow which sometimes means that they read self-help books either before trying coaching or as a supplement to the coaching experience. And I have a love affair with books, so you would think that I'd be all over the wonders of time management books. But life is more complicated than that and my experience has been that these titles mostly have one of two issues:

1) They offer very general advice, which is valid but tough to apply to the specificity of one individual's life. This can quickly degenerate into what is known as "shoulding all over yourself". The ideas resonate for you, but without a plan for how to experiment and apply it, these nice ideas just become things you "should" do, but don't. And then you feel crappy about that. And that's a difficult and demotivating place to be.

2) They offer an author's own system of time management, which works really well for him or her but may not be a great fit for each reader. This can also degenerate into shoulding, because it is so easy to think that the lovely, neat system that works so well for someone else should work for you, if only you were... [Fill in the horrible blank.]

I'm not suggesting the world must all refuse to read time management books even if we really love that kind of thing, but I am suggesting that if the reading leads to shoulding... well, as for me I'd rather make art or go outside.

Nerdy note: The idea of shoulding comes from the massively prominent psychologist Albert Ellis, who was kind of frightening really, but I do so like the ideas of "shoulding all over yourself" and it's cousin "musterbating".

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