Every time I head to a bookstore I head right for the time management section. Or at least I try to. As often as not that task isn´t as easy as it should be. I have yet to find two bookstores that stick the time management books in the same place. Sometimes it is in the business section, sometimes it is in reference and sometimes it is stuck beside the writing books. The bookstore I was at today had it jammed in between religion and party planning (the fact that those two sections were side by side is very odd, but a topic for another day).
If I am able to find the time management section, I am always struck by how few books there are. Here´s a game that you can play (though it may only be fun for me). The next time you are in a bookstore, count the number of books on the shelves about time management. Then count the number of books written by people who have starred on The Apprentice. I can virtually guarantee you that The Apprentice will win. With a few notable exceptions, the time management books that are on the shelf are the same tired retreads of the same tired theories and suggestions that you can get from a hundred different places (though not, in any great quantity, at the bookstore).
What´s my point? I´m certainly not complaining that I am involved in a field that isn´t "cool´. Lord knows I´m used to being obsessed by uncool things by now. What I do want to know is why we push time management to the side. Everybody has time and most of us don´t manage it particularly well, but it is much easier to find books about breeding hamsters (I checked) then it is to find new ways to get control of our lives.
At the very least, time management should have a prominent section of its own. There are dozens of books to help you get incremental increases in your sales, your leadership skills and your health, but far fewer about time management. It´s not that one topic is more important than the others, it´s that time management is an integral part of all of those things and everything else, too. By dealing with time management as something separate and (judging by the quality of its shelf space) not of particular interest, we are affecting or ability to succeed in those other areas and in the other areas of our lives.
I deal with the same problem in my own business. One of my core offerings is a program I developed that helps people read more material in a shorter amount of time and absorb more from it. When I talk to people about it their initial reaction is almost always that that sounds nice, but they don´t have time to read books and they don´t have the time to take the course because they are too busy with work. Once I help them see that a big part of the reason that they don´t have time is because of all the e-mails and memos and reports and minutes, and that you have to read all of those, they see that reading is a big part (in many cases the biggest part) of what they do every day. In other words, they don´t think they have enough time for reading because they have to do too much reading.
Reading improvement isn´t something you do to help you read better. It´s something you do so that you have more time to do the things that make you money. Time management is the exact same thing. It isn´t something you do if you can ever find the time, it´s something you do to give you more time. And you shouldn´t have to head to the party planning session for advice on how to do it.