End the time management world. Start the mind management world.

The time management world is over. We’ve gone as far as we can go with time management. We all have calendars, and those calendars are all full.

To get to the next level, we need to put less effort toward making the most of our time, and instead put more effort into making the most of our minds.

We need to switch from a time management world to a mind management world.


The time management world and the mind management world don’t agree with one another. The customs and social rules we need to run a mind management world are nearly impossible to adopt in a time management world.

Here’s how a mind management world would be different from a time management world.

Calendars

  • In a time management world, you make appointments on any open slot in your calendar.
  • In a mind management world, you make appointments on any open slot in your calendar that doesn’t interfere with deep work.

Meetings

  • In a time management world, meetings go like this: Present the problem, try to generate ideas. Choose a bad idea and run with it. Everyone leaves frustrated and exhausted.
  • In a mind management world, meetings go like this: Present the problem. Establish a timeline for collecting ideas. Allow time for incubation. End the meeting. (Or don’t have the meeting at all.)

Email

  • In a time management world, you respond to that angry email right away. Your response is even more angry than the original email.
  • In a mind management world, you write down a summary of your understanding of what is in the angry email, then you take a break. You come back and realize that the email isn’t an angry email at all. Your lizard brain just interpreted it that way.

Productivity

  • In a time management world, “work” is the amount of time you spend moving your fingers on the keyboard.
  • In a mind management world, “work” is the amount of impact what you produce has on the business.

Success

  • In a time management world, failure is failure.
  • In a mind management world, failure is a step toward success.

Chat

  • In a time management world, everyone talks about everything in the office Slack channel.
  • In a mind management world, chat is for scheduled real-time problem solving. You aren’t expected to be on chat all of the time.

Smartphones

  • In a time management world, all notifications are on, and your smartphone is always in your hand.
  • In a mind management world, all notifications are off, and your phone is on Do Not Disturb. You check it when you aren’t focused on something else.

Dinner

  • In a time management world, the waiter interrupts your conversation every ten minutes. They slam the check down on your table before you finish your last bite.
  • In a mind management world, you get to enjoy your food and company, with time to wind down before you order the check.

Less busy work, more great ideas. Less drama, more doing. Less stress, more happiness. These are the ways the mind management world beats the time management world.

Nevermind what is and isn’t practical, right this moment, about switching to a mind management world. If we start looking for opportunities to manage our minds, instead of our time, we can change the culture, change the way we use our minds, and eventually—change the world.

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