Efficient & effective time management, is arguably, one of the most important characteristics a human can have in the pursuit of achieving success. Though the definition of time management may vary across people’s thoughts and perspectives, I think many would agree that the main idea of it is to be able to accomplish tasks on time, and in most cases, while have many other things going on in their life.
From my personal experiences in life, I have always been someone that has a lot on their plate – even during high school. Waking up at 6AM for school, playing the sport of the season after classes, work, and then don’t forget that homework! It wouldn’t be uncommon for me to get 5 hours of sleep in one night because of such a hectic schedule. Yes, maybe at times I was overwhelmed, but deep down I knew it was what I enjoyed; I enjoyed staying busy. Now, being a senior in college, and having far more tasks that need to be managed such as an academic commitment, leadership roles in multiple organizations on campus, additional leadership roles for various projects, maintaining an internship, and being an active Realtor, I have come to realize that I really am a true WORK HARD, PLAY HARD type of person.
I have spoken about the WORK side and people may say… how is there time for PLAY? This is where time management & organization are critical. Those of you that know me would probably agree that I am someone that is willing to take on pretty much any task that comes my way… and quite simply, that is because I like to be involved and I like to find opportunities to grow as a person. That does not mean I do not leave time for play. Though my phone is always on and I am very often checking emails, text messages, and taking phone calls, I am still able to find time for enjoyment – enjoyment such as spending times with family & friends, vacationing, traveling, skiing, water sports, sailing, and much more.
Time management, if used correctly, ensures time for play – regardless of how much is on your plate. One of the most critical tools I have found to be useful in bettering my time management is to create a weekly to-do list for short term tasks/goals, and an “active” long-term to-do list for tasks/goals I want to complete. I like to have a piece of paper always by my side to be able to jot down something I remember I need to complete. In my opinion, using a piece of paper has just been my go-to, but maybe over time I will transition to an electronic doc as I have begun to partially do – I am just not sure if it will ever be fully electronic as I like having a physical copy. The short term to-do list is where I am able to see what needs to get done on a more urgent basis and from there I prioritize.
In conjunction with having my goals written down, I am a very strong advocate in using iCalendar which is able to sync with all my Apple devices. Everything from doctor appointments to various meetings to classes, it is all in my iCalendar. I am able to simply look at my calendar each week and allocate time to the various short-term and long-term tasks/goals I would like to get completed that week while being able to see which days will have more availability than others.
It truly comes down to how organized you are. Everything that I have discussed thus far, from having a sheet of paper with goals to using iCalendar, relates to organization. Some may say its organized chaos, but to me it is certainly a way I stay on top of my tasks/goals and has helped me successfully complete tasks on time while continuing to take on responsibilities and still have time for fun. If you are still finding it difficult to have free time, put “FREE TIME” in your calendar. Make it a priority to have time to yourself… it is very important!
I think it is important to note that there is not one recipe for success. This was simply to share my personal experiences and how I have been able to stay involved while getting things done and continuing to have time for fun. I hope some find it helpful! Feel free to share your thoughts below!
Jacob C. Ashley