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My Personal Struggle
Have you ever felt like no matter how much time you are given to complete a task, it will not be sufficient and you will fail anyway? That is exactly what I have to experience every day being a single mother, who has to work while continuing to study. In this situation, time management skills become crucial. It may seem simple to make a schedule and follow it but in fact, very few people can really manage their time. The problem is often caused by excessive anxiety or a fear of possible failure. Moreover, there are a lot of those who are simply unable to follow schedules and rules.
So, time management problem simultaneously triggers panic and is aggravated by it. That is why everyone should learn how to correctly divide time to avoid stress. Personally, I feel that I must find a solution to the problem as it impacts not only me but people who surround me: I often become irritable and apathetic when I feel that my efforts are all in vain. I have to combine family life with work and studies, which means that I have very little time to afford procrastinating. However, I find it really challenging to schedule my day in such a way that I could devote enough time to everything that is important to me.
Time management is basically the process of planning how to divide the time you have between the activities you need to perform as well as to the idea of controlling how the schedule is followed (Panek, 2014). Good time management skills increase your effectiveness and productivity while saving time wasted on procrastination. On the contrary, inability to manage time may have a negative impact on your study and job (Glover, Ronning, & Reynolds, 2013). In order to manage time effectively the following solutions can be applied:
- The most popular solution is to make a schedule to keep track of important facts and ideas that can be of any use as well as arrangements that you have for a week to come. On the one hand, it helps understand how much have already been completed; however, on the other hand, much time is wasted on writing lists.
- Time management can also start from setting priorities and assigning time to each. The problem is that sometimes to-do lists grow so long that they simply become unmanageable. That is why it could be more effective to prioritize tasks to make sure that nothing important got lost in lists of trifles.
- Some experts believe that using planning tools can solve the problem. They include apps, computer programs, electronic planner and diaries, wall charts, index cards, and a lot of other devices allowing to make a schedule more quickly and efficiently (Forster, 2014).
- It could be useful to manage time by diving it into two major categories: working and rest time. Planned interruptions are important as they give one a motivation to work.
- Since long-term plans (even those that cover only one week) make a lot of people depressed, a possible solution could be to begin every day with making a day-long plan.
- For many students and office workers (as well as other people who work with other people nearby), the problem is often not to divide time but not to distract attention. That is why the most reasonable solution in this case is to remove all distracting factors (not to engage in conversations, not to chat in social networks, not to complain, etc.).
- As an extension to the previous solution, you can disconnect instant messaging, log out from your accounts, and stop answering the phone or emails merely because someone calls or writes.
- It is not a rare case that we fail tasks because we try to do everything simultaneously. Multitasking may seem attractive but the most reasonable approach to time management is to set discrete objectives and never to mix activities (Thomas, 2015).
- This solution is often forgotten despite being simple and effective: You can learn to say no to everything that does not correspond to your plans. On the one hand, it means rejecting opportunities, on the other hand, you will avoid stress from work overloading.
As far as I am concerned, I prefer to combine several methods in accordance with the work I have to do. I believe that there cannot be a universal solution that would fit your studies, work, free time, and family issues. I use an electronic app to make lists but I also try to rely on my memory and do not exclude on-the-spot decisions. Moreover, I realized that planning can focus on tasks but it can also concentrate on results: Some people feel more motivated if they understand what benefits they will obtain if they cope with this or that problem. Thus, I can manage my time by determining desired outcomes first and then identifying what have to be done to achieve them. This way I feel that I do not have overwhelming obligations.
Pros and Cons of the Solution
|Creativity||No clear schedule|
|Openness to new ideas and solutions||A possibility to opt for a wrong way to complete this or that task|
|No stress||Threat of overloading|
|No feeling of obligation||Procrastination is not excluded|
|Positive disposition because of expected benefits||No long-term objectives|
|Time for rest||Possibility of an unexpected outcome|
How to manage your time effectively. (2017).
Mathews, J., Debolt, D., & Percival P. (2017). How to manage time with 10 tips that work. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219553/
Time management. (2017).
Forster, M. (2014). Do it tomorrow and other secrets of time management. London, UK: Hachette UK.
Glover, J. A., Ronning, R. R., & Reynolds, C. (2013). Handbook of creativity. Berlin, Germany: Springer Science & Business Media.
Panek, E. (2014). Left to their own devices: College students’ “guilty pleasure” media use and time management. Communication Research, 41(4), 561-577.
Thomas, M. (2015, April 22). Time management training doesn’t work. Harvard Business Review.