Book Review: Mind Management, Not Time Management by David Kadavy

Last Wednesday, I got an advance copy of David Kadavy’s Mind Management, Not Time Management — a book that officially released to the public this morning.

Which meant that if I wanted to help Kadavy’s new book garner the most support and/or impact, I needed to have my review ready to go by this morning as well.

Reading a 264-page book in under a week is not that big a deal for me; I read fairly quickly.

Finding the time to read Mind Management, Not Time Management was the bigger concern. Especially because I was categorizing it as “a task I wanted to complete during work hours, so I could shut down completely every evening and spend my after-work reading energy on Better Chess or one of the other books I’m currently studying.”

Which brings me to the obvious question:

Did I use mind management or time management to get the job done?

On the “mind management” side, I cleared my mental decks (as it were) by deliberately avoiding workday distractions like Twitter and Facebook. I often dip into social media on occasion (like most of us) but I am aware of the cost — the way two minutes can turn into twenty minutes, for example, and the way that a single tweet can prompt an emotional reaction that makes it that much harder to go back to thinking about and/or focusing on your work.

This distraction-avoidance strategy wasn’t designed to keep me focused on Kadavy’s book, though. It was designed to keep me focused on my freelance writing — the most important work I do every day — so I could complete it as efficiently as possible. That way, I would have 20 extra minutes at the end of each workday to read Mind Management, Not Time Management.

That’s also a mind management technique, in a sense — I wanted to give my best brainpower to my generative freelance work and use what’s left over for a less generative task like reading. Putting Mind Management, Not Time Management at the end of my workday (instead of the beginning) also prevented me from putting off my freelancing in order to read “just one more page” of Kadavy’s compelling narrative.

But these strategies wouldn’t have worked without years of training in time management. At this point in my career, I know exactly how long it takes me to write 1000 words — and almost exactly how long it takes me to read a 264-page book for review. I know my creative sweet spots (a mind management technique, and one of my favorite chapters in the book), but I also know how to schedule my day so that my most creative work falls during those creative peaks (which would seem to be time management).

I get why Kadavy put the word “not” between the concepts of mind management and time management — it makes for a much better title, for starters. That said, so much of his book argues for the importance of both. One chapter, for example, argues that we should have a weekly routine that assigns tasks based on mental energy and the natural flow of the workweek, instead of a daily routine that assigns tasks based on individual hours — but you can’t really have one without the other. What does it mean to say that you’re going to do a Weekly Review every Sunday after dinner, or that you’re going to batch all non-urgent administrative tasks for Friday at 10 a.m.? Where does the internal organization of the mind end and the external organization of the clock begin?

If I hadn’t prioritized time management, I wouldn’t have achieved my goal of reading Kadavy’s book in under a week while still keeping my evenings free. If I hadn’t prioritized mind management, I wouldn’t have been able to make the time to read.

So I’m going to have to argue that it’s not not.

That it’s and.

Circadian rhythms and clock rhythms, working together in perfect time — or, shall we say, as of one mind. ❤️

 
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