The end of increasing efficiency: is time management dead?


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A lack of self-determination troubles many people even more than stress: Lothar Seiwert sees this as the main cause of the burn-out symptom. We'll have to change that ourselves.

The end of increasing efficiency: is time management dead?

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherConsultant and head of the Institute's job pictures Yourweb.

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Not every sow makes the world a better place

Some time ago I received the terrible news on Twitter: Of all things, one of the most famous time management experts in Germany, Prof. Dr. Lothar Seiwert, declares time management dead. And now?

To come to the point: no. Not every sow that is driven through the village through the media changes the world immediately. As media professionals, Seiwert and his publisher naturally know how to sell theses as strikingly as possible. Because this is new at most for those who have previously only understood time management as a means to pack even more efficiency in less and less time. But that was never exactly what it was about. Rather, that existed Sense good time management has always been about creating more space for the finer things in life. Or have I misunderstood something?

Letting go and downshifting as a recipe for success

So Seiwert's theses are not that new - and they were already evident in earlier works that were about letting go and downshifting. But they always fit in well with the current social trend: away from more and more, faster and faster, more and more hectic - towards a new time culture in which one concentrates on the essentials and sees things a little more calmly. Downshifting. Incidentally, a trend that futurologists claim to have identified years ago.

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How to achieve this in hectic everyday work, Seiwert naturally has a solution - and that is actually what is new about his book: The time manager asked himself: Why do some people have no problem with stress and burnout at all, even though they are day achieve top performance every day? And why do others collapse immediately with a little stress? The answer: "What really burns people out has nothing to do with the workload, but with the degree of external control in life." Seiwert's book is "a plea for a self-determined life."

If only it were that easy

At this point, however, I can already hear the prophecies of doom: "It all sounds fine and good with self-determination, but unfortunately in my job it's not that easy." As a representative of this, the burnout coach Markus Väth recently went off his hat:

“How long do we actually want to wriggle in this mendacious debate that employees are solely responsible for burnout and should deal with it themselves: with“ stress management ”,“ time management ”. Or they should "just relax". Rarely laughed so much."

Väth is of course right when he primarily identifies structural reasons for the problem. And the solution that he proposes sounds very sensible at first: to link the compensation targets of managers to the health of the employees - after all, it is the job of managers to organize work optimally without the sickness rate ruining the company. But apart from the fact that in many companies the short-term and unwise thinking of simply replacing burned-out employees with fresh ones apparently still prevails - if you burnout in an externally determined work situation, this requirement is of little help at the moment when the executive floor she does not implement. Only one thing can help: helping people to help themselves!

Helping people help themselves

If I sit down and wait for the company's management to change something about my problem, I can probably wait a long time. I have to do something myself - and that has nothing to do with “making the employee feel guilty”. For example, just say “no” in a friendly but firm manner and point out the limits. So that it doesn't happen that the boss thinks: "Oh, he's doing it all well, then I can withdraw." Get rid of your own fears about what the boss and colleagues might say if you don't comply with their wishes right away. Look for mutual compromises in conflict situations. Make it clear to yourself and to others what your own goals are, where the journey is going - because this also increases your assertiveness. Live independently!

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But this also includes letting go when things don't go well. Curiously, people like to waste energy unnecessarily on things and fellow human beings who do not want to be like they do - instead of paying attention to those who take the trip with pleasure. So if your dear colleagues stubbornly insist on their course despite all the compromise proposals, the boss is a manipulative user and the mills in the company just don't grind better - then you should even consider whether you can find better alternatives elsewhere. Courage to take risks is also part of a self-determined life!


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