The Analogy Between Organizing Time and Organizing Space
Why can it be such a challenge to manage time? In her book Time Management from the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern points out that it comes from the way we view time.
Most people think of time as intangible. In the journey from chaos to order, it is often easier to organize space than time, because space is something you can actually see. Time, on the other hand, is completely invisible. You can’t see it or hold it in your hands. It’s not something that piles up or that you can physically move around. (p. 9)
When you are organizing a closet, for example, you can see how much stuff you are dealing with, and therefore whether it will all fit. But when it comes to time, it is hard to conceptualize since time is invisible. Yet as long as your time remains elusive and hard to conceptualize, “you will have difficulty managing your days.”
So what is the solution?
Change your perception of time and develop a more tangible view of it. You need to learn to see time in more visual, measurable terms.
But how do we do this? We recognize the analogy between organizing time and organizing space.
Just as a closet is a limited space into which you must fit a certain number of objects, a schedule is a limited space into which you must fit a certain number of tasks. Your days are not infinite and endless. When you think of it this way, time is not so intangible and elusive. In fact, each day is simply a container, a storage unit that has a definite capacity you can reach.
Once you understand that time has boundaries, you begin to look at your to-dos much differently. Tasks are the objects that you must fit into your space. Each one has a size, and arranging them in your day becomes a mathematical equation. As you evaluate what you need to do, you begin to calculate the size of each task and whether you can fit it into the space.
When you start seeing time as having borders, just as space does, you will become much more realistic about what you can accomplish, and much more motivated to master various time-management tools and techniques to help you make the most of your time. (p. 11)