I’ve been way too philosophical of late: too much thinking- too much in my head. So today, we’re going to go all logic: Time Management.
What is time management? Well, we’re going to go with my unsophisticated definition and say that it is how you manage your time- how you get the things you need to get done in a timely fashion (I know- I should write for Webster’s…)
Why is time management important? Because we’re all busy. We all have a billion things to get done, and about a half hour to get them done. Plus- we want to have a little down time. So we need to learn how to manage our time in order to get the necessities out of the way and leave time for the good stuff.
Someone recently wrote about the benefits of teens having part time jobs because it teaches them time management. This is a totally true statement. Except when its not. How many of you with jobs are really good with time management? I don’t see all your hands up. Half of you are running away in terror. The other half are proudly holding up their planners. Because we all know that time management is just another term for planning.
My teen daughter is a master of time management. In fact, if a college application question were to ask what her superpower is, it would clearly be how to manage time and get things done. She not only participates in clubs, she is also a leader in almost everything she does. During the tennis season she does not get home from school until about 730 and them has to do hours of homework, on top of eating and showering. During law competitions, she often spends about 20 hours a week just prepping for her role. Add on top of this community service and tutoring job and practicing guitar and writing poetry and essays (which she does for relaxation) and friends….
As I’m telling you how wonderful my daughter is, I am aware that karma will probably wield its ugly head and she will go off the rails- but I am also pretty confident that that will not happen until January 5, 2019 after all college applications are in…
What are her secrets?
- She knows her limitations. She knows exactly how much she is capable of doing.
- She knows how to say no.
- She knows that you can not do everything, so you must prioritize- take care of the must do first, then go in order of importance
- She breaks tasks down into manageable chunks- if she has a paper due in 10 days she set daily goals so that she is not rushing, and she makes the goal appropriate to the day (eg, if she has a match at a far court and knows she will not walk in the door till 830, she will not attempt to write 8 pages of something)
- When she has a project due in the future, she makes sure that it is completed a full day before it is due- she uses the night before to make sure there are no glaring errors- let me repeat- she does not wait till the night before to complete a project because she is a firm believer of Murphy’s Law
- If she’s running low on supplies (paper, ink, etc) she buys it – all it takes is one trip to the 24 hour staples at 1am to make sure you always have ink in the house
- She keeps a calendar. She writes down what steps she needs to do on what days
- Every night before she goes to sleep she writes a new to do list for items due the next day, and adds things to it as the day progresses- she highlights the things that must be done
- Every night she checks her to do list to make sure that everything is completed, and what wasn’t done gets added to the next days list
- She packs all her things the night before (the one exception is her computer which must charge overnight- but as it’s the only thing she has to add to her bag so it’s rote by now)
- She has google drive folders for all her clubs and classes. She makes sure everything goes into the correct folder.
- She also has separate paper folders for all clubs and classes to keep track of all the paper that she still seems to have in a paperless society
- Her motto is “everything in moderation.” She knows that if she goes out with friends on a Friday night, she needs to stay in Saturday night (usually- there are exceptions)
- She knows how long it will take to get certain tasks done. If she’s not sure, she adds extra time. She also adds in commuting time- how long it will take to get somewhere.
- The first thing she does in the morning is check the weather and how mass transit is running- she needs to factor in delays that are beyond her control
- When she comes home from school she puts her phone on “Do Not Disturb” for two hours- she does not text, email or look at social media for at least two hours Monday through Thursday. And- when she is at end of marking period, when everything is due, she takes Instagram and facebook off her phone entirely. Not snapchat- I mean really- let’s not get too crazy. Can I add that this is the absolute most important thing she does in order to have good time management?
I think I hit on the big things, the things that really help get her going. Is she perfect? No. Not even close. Does she screw up? Of course- she’s human. But, by having a plan in place, her screw ups are not monumental- she is able to recover.
Does this work for everyone? Probably not. But if you never seem to have enough time, maybe you should at least consider setting up a plan.