Time-Management Vs. Self-Management

We have been used to the term "Time-Management", in fact, we believed that we could manage our time.

We all have 24 hours per day, yet, some of us seems to be able to use the same 24-hours to complete double or more tasks than we do.

How? Simple enough, they don't manage their time, they manage themselves.

Self-discipline is what differentiate successful people with the rest of us, in fact, they are a little bit too harsh to themselves.

Micheal Phelps, the Olympic gold-medalist has a rather crazy training routine, he swam more than 80,000 meters, which is about 2 times of the length of West Coastline of Peninsular Malaysia. Warren Buffet has a habit of ready 500 pages daily. Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock has a crazy strict diet plan and workout plan.

Type in "self-discipline and success" in Google and see more than 20 million related results, include this one from  Brian Tracy, author of many best-seller self-development books.

So yes, self-management seems to be way more significant than time-management, yet, we fell for the concept of managing time. Why is it so? Why are we missing the obvious and jump straight into the attempt of managing time?

Because managing oneself required great effort! You'll need to consciously think about your action and thought, modify them when needed, and above all, you'll need to stop yourself from giving in into whatever temptation that distracts you!

What if Micheal Phelps give in to the temptation of lying on the bed and not getting up for training? What if Warren Buffet stopped reading intensively? What if The Rock ate heavily and never worked out?

You have the answer.

Actually, managing one's discipline is not that difficult, at least not all the time. Our brain tends to resist the thoughts or actions that are unfamiliar, for example, you are not a regular visitor to the gym and suddenly you are required to work out every day, you will definitely fail to do so.

As what Charles Duhigg believed, the power of habit is truly powerful because it bypasses our consciousness and allowed our body to take the action without hesitation.

How habit form? Behavioral psychologists have tons and tons of research to prove that habit formed through a framework of "Cue-Routine-Reward". When one received a "cue" - which could be an object, event or a particular time of a day, the brain gets into the automation mode and carry out a series of actions that the conscious mind may not be aware of, and during the process of the "routine", one carries out, he/she might experienced a physical pleasure or emotionally satisfaction aka the "reward".

The reward strengthened the power of the cue, and the next time one saw the cue, it gets easier to go into the routine, which makes the whole process habitual.

For example, at 6.30pm (the first cue), Alan gets home from tiring day at the office and the first thing he saw when he gets in the apartment was the couch (the second cue), he immediately felt the exhaustion and feels like he needs to sit on the couch (he probably didn't think about it), he sat on the couch and pulled out his phone (routine), feels he was rested after about one-hour (reward).

Well, that is an example of a bad habit. Now, take a look at when I change the "cue" from couch to Alan's gym bag. When the cue changed, the routine associated with the cue also gets changed. Now, instead of sitting on the couch, Alan changes to his workout outfit and head to the gym. The reward? Feeling recharged after the workout session and eventually gets the body everyone gets envy of.

So, if Alan has already got the couch-sit-relax cycle of habit, how is he able to change to the gym bag-workout-gets fit habit? I mean, we all have the experience of wanted to change the bad habit but failed miserably, right?

I should have elaborate that in a different post, now, let me make my point clear here: don't try to manage on time, instead, try to manage yourself. More specifically, manage your habits, because after all, we are the creatures of habits.

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