The Magnitude of Time Management
Imagine a world in which time did not exist. There would be no deadlines, no bedtimes, no set hours for work or school. Some third-world countries still work this way, which is why they are still considered antiquated and small in the big scheme of things. To be considered successful in the hectic word in which we live, one must always be aware of the time – students must arrive at school on time, employees are penalized for arriving late or requesting to leave early, and every project has a deadline. In order to meet these deadlines, one must learn to manage time wisely. Effective time management is the key to success in school and in business, as it assists one in grasping every opportunity and making the most of them, and still having time leftover for fun.
Life holds many opportunities, and there isn’t nearly enough time available to take advantage of every one of them. Most people can agree that Donald Trump is the epitome of success – he runs a multimillion dollar corporation, and still has time for leisure. The reason for this is that Trump excels at being focused. He may be on his way to a meeting, but he is also on the phone with other clients. Trump has said, “I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present.” The average student is no Trump, but their lives are just as busy. In a typical day, a student might have a term paper to finish, a part-time job to go to, and a party to attend afterwards. That student must manage time wisely. This isn’t a skill that comes naturally to most people – it must be learned and honed until it can be accomplished with little effort. An individual who manages time wisely should be able to: analyze use of time, develop a time-management system, and to use strategies to reduce procrastination (Dembo, 2000, p. 98). The student might write out a study plan while at school, start on homework while at work, and then be able to enjoy the evening’s fun.
Those people who can’t manage their time are easy to spot – these are the people who make us late, fail to meet our expectations, or who constantly procrastinate to the point where they need to ask others for help. These people miss out on many opportunities. For instance, a professor might look for a student to assist with research. The job pays well and the hours are perfect – to whom is the professor going to offer the job? He has a choice between Student #1, who arrives at class on time, turns in well thought out papers that are always on time, and never needs to leave class early, and Student #2, who often arrives late and leaves early, turns in sloppy work that is often late, and is usually heard complaining about a busy schedule. The professor will offer the job to Student #1, based on reputation only. The ability to manage one’s time effectively can help to bolster one’s reputation so that opportunities come to them (Snyder, 2001, p.31).
When running a search for books on time management, the results offered gadgets that were supposed to save time by doing all the things we no longer have time for – reminding us to keep an appointment, get an assignment finished, or to send Mom flowers on her birthday. The truth is that there isn’t a single gadget on the market that can substitute for time management skills. The ability to manage our busy lives in such a way that we can take advantage of opportunities while still having time for fun is something we need to practice every day of our lives. The key, of course, is to “know the balance you wish to achieve between your business and your private commitments” (Adair, 2004, p.4), and to maintain that balance through a combination of proper planning and follow-up.
Thomas, N. (Ed.). (2004). The John Adair Handbook of Management and Leadership. London: Thorogood.
(2006). Donald Trump Quotes. Retrieved October 29, 2006, from Brainy Quotes Web site: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/donald_trump.html
Dembo, M. H. (2000). Motivation and Learning Strategies for College Success A Self-Management Approach. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Ferrari, J. R. (2001). 2 Getting Things Done on Time: Conquering Procrastination. In Coping with Stress: Effective People and Processes, Snyder, C. R. (Ed.) (pp. 30-43). New York: Oxford University Press.
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