Self-reflection is one of the key exercises of observing and reporting one’s thoughts, practices, skills, and their associated outcomes Gläser-Zikuda (2012). It is a conscious effort of realizing and considering areas that need attention and improvement in an individual’s personality. Only after a person has undergone self-realization, one can work towards being a better human being by inculcating self-assessment skills that were lacking previously Gläser-Zikuda (2012). This reflective essay will focus on self-reflection with specific references to time management skills and how time self-reflective exercises made me adopt and implement the said skill.
Time management allows a reduction in waste of time while providing the opportunity for proper allocation of the desired amount of time to certain tasks based on their importance and urgency. It does not only allow one to plan realistically but instead creates room for the achievement of those plans Kapur (2018). Not only does this help in achieving certain tasks but also aids in daily routine activities. Since a person can synchronize what tasks need to be done at what time, an individual is better able to manage effectiveness and productivity in this way. Since early childhood, I had big plans and dreams, but as I grew up I realized that none of my plans were following the track that I tentatively drew in my mind when I was a child. With every passing year, the sense of non-accomplishment and the increasing list of undone tasks and plans were only adding up to my anxiety and stress until later when I realized that what I lacked was not determination and passion, but it was the skill of time management that was missing within me.
This self-realization brought with it a completely new perspective and I realized that only managing time and synchronizing plans with a successive sequence in their increasing order of desire to achieve will only help me in pursuing my targets. Nasrullah and Khan (2015) highlighted in this study, that time management skill depends on the routine and activities of the students and it ultimately affects stress and anxiety levels. Students who lack this skill experience negative effects on their lives and academics Nasrullah and Khan (2015). Since that time I have started planning my day the night before, planning my week every preceding weekend, and setting my monthly targets at the end of the previous month. Thus, I have noticed a positive and healthy change in my personality and mental health. I am feeling less tired, more active, and more accomplished, besides being focused and determined to achieve my goals. I feel my list of undone tasks is slowly and gradually shrinking and that I can maintain a pace with my life with everything being in place and in the proper order of its fulfillment. My days are now more organized and systemic than ever.
Kapur (2018) mentions the simple and easy-to-understand definition of time management. As highlighted in his study, time management is a skill that allows the organization and completion of tasks as per the timeline and within the due course of time. It is the ability to use time effectively and productively. I believe, it is important for every individual to possess and develop the skill under consideration to lead a life that is free of anxiety and stress. Kapur (2018) also talks about the significance of time management in everybody’s life regardless of age, gender, professional association, work commitments, and interests. No matter what one follows and wants to achieve in their life, time management is a key that can drive success and sustainable outcomes.
While reflecting on the time management skill, I put a special focus on the way Dewey 1933 had prescribed the ways to do the reflective exercise. Based on his theory, research conducted by Rodgers (2002), mentions that individuals should always deeply analyze and give careful attention to their beliefs and practices concerning logical and research-based grounds. This has made me analyze and reflect on my time management skills which have improved and become better over time. However, how Dewey addresses the reflection does not cater the experiential learning. Many a time in life, individual experiences can teach lessons that logical grounds may not do so. Therefore, I think it is important to take into consideration what experiences life brings for us. For example, missing a birthday celebration of a close friend, being unable to catch up on a flight on time, and losing grades because of late submission in assignments were some of the eye-opening experiences that taught me the importance of time management.
Cáceres (2017) on another account highlighted yet another theory by Schon in 1983 which mentions the significance of self-realization as being the core value of a development. There are two things where an individual should put their attention. First, the reflection in that it is analyzing the skills and striving hard to make them better, and second, the reflection on that it is critically reviewing the events that take place and responding to them Cáceres (2017).
When I get up each day I always make a schedule of my daily tasks and figure out the time that I need to give to professional and academic work as well. Besides, I plan my week ahead of time and enlist all that needs to be completed during the entire week. I have learned this activity with time and this facilitates two things. First, it keeps me motivated, and second, it reduces my anxiety and stress. Since, whenever time management is given priority and days and weeks are planned according to it, it is observed that less anxiety and stress is being reported in people (Mohamadkhani Ghiasvand, Naderi, Zagheri Tafreshi, Ahmadi and Hosseini, 2017).
Time management has a crucial role in every task and profession that a person takes up. Taking into account the example of a researcher, Chase et al. (2012) highlights the significance of the term and its implications in the life of a researcher. Since research is a critical and crucial task, time management allows for a sustainable outcome, adequate focus, and productivity on the specific research topic Chase et al. (2012). If a researcher does not follow the time management skill, one may not be able to document the relevant findings at a relevant time which may ultimately result in the loss of substantial data and its significance.
While I relate to what the research has brought into consideration, I completely agree that time management plays a significant role in the completion of academic tasks and research activities Chase et al. (2012). Not only does it improve the quality of work but also helps the student to stand unique from others during the academic discourse. Completion of tasks on time allows sufficient time to look for areas of improvement and follow the progress on time avoiding the eleventh-hour hassle Chase et al. (2012). With my own experiences, I have experienced firsthand that assignments and tasks completed on time always come up with good results and outcomes in comparison to those which are completed late and in rush.
One of the research CYRIL (2015) interestingly states the fact that one thing beyond human control is time because it never stops for anybody. Those who waste it and do not make the most out of it are the ones who are left behind in this competitive world because nothing can be substituted for the time that is once gone and lost. After reading this, I realized that one fine way to manage myself would be to manage the time I have in my life. If I learn the art of managing and controlling time, I will have the art of controlling everything that is around me, that pertains to me, and that I want to achieve. CYRIL (2015) highlights that there are many cases where students do not know how to manage time effectively among family, friends, entertainment, assignments, tests, and jobs and they end up either compromising on their academic records or their relationships. I found this quite relatable. I witnessed myself distancing subconsciously and unintentionally from family and friends because it was initially very difficult to keep everything manageable.
Recently I came across a study by Chase et al. (2012) which talks about nine effective steps to learn about time management. I started following those steps in every task that was assigned to me or that was under my supervision and to my utmost surprise, I observed a drastic change in the outcome and the overall productivity on my part. Now, What I follow is whenever I have to accomplish something, I start with the time assessment which includes two questions. First, how much time do I have? And second, how much time will be needed on my part to complete the task? As a second step, I plan, and then monitor the progress. Chase et al. (2012) mention that if the initial steps of time management are done accurately and followed properly, all other things come in line.
As a next step, I decide what goals I need to achieve and how they align with the task that is being assigned to be followed by the prioritization and optimization of the planning process. Chase et al. (2012) emphasize taking the help and expertise of other people to reduce time investment and increase productivity. This catalyzes task performance and brings in diverse ideas and opinions. Following the time management strategy allows me to identify the potential risks and any loopholes and seek timely the same. Because, I play a diverse role in my life ranging from a family person to someone who loves to socialize and from an academic student to a professional colleague at my workplace, this time management skill allows me to let go of and address any potential distractions that may come along. It also enables me to identify and overcome barriers that may pose problem-solving tasks Chase et al. (2012).
I have always noticed that whenever I can complete tasks on time and follow the skill of time management in personal, professional, and academic areas I am more comfortable and relaxed, otherwise in case of non-compliance with time management, I face more anxiety and stress. Hence, reflecting on my own experiences, I have learned that time management results in better and improved performances. The research conducted by Adams and Blair (2019) also supplements my overall experience with time management, however, there can be certain areas and factors which may make it difficult for people to manage time effectively Adams and Blair (2019). These factors may vary from person to person based on the dynamics in which they live their lives.
Reflecting on the time when I started my studies, I felt a huge challenge in managing my household responsibilities with my academic responsibilities. I felt like I was not able to manage time effectively hence my relationships with family and friends were deteriorating and every task that I was doing was not up to the standards of high quality. COVID-19 bought along with it a new set of challenges that again made it extremely difficult to manage time effectively. Later, with time, I started to learn that time management is a skill, a skill that can lead to success and yield positive results and the skill which every individual must possess to produce good quality work in all domains without compromising on anything. Adams and Blair (2019) mentioned that time management can result in good academic results and the same I have experience with time.
Besides, the skill of time management provides me an opportunity to explore various new opportunities coming up in life and enables me to bring in innovative and creative ideas. It allows me to self-explore my hidden personality traits which I never knew existed before. As time management skill brings organization and ethics to life Al-Zoubi (2016), it opens up routes for success and achievements. What once seems impossible to achieve is now something practically attainable. Hence, if the few most successful people in the world are taken into consideration and interviewed, it may be easily evident that the basic principle they follow in their lives is time management Al-Zoubi (2016).
Over time I have learned and mastered the skill of time management that I will continue to adopt and follow in all areas of life. I am still an advocate of it and keep on instructing people around me such as colleagues, family, and friends to give this skill a priority in their life. I am aware that not everybody has a similar approach to life and not everybody performs at the same level, but I still believe that implementing and managing time effectively definitely improves the overall productivity of the work. It not only improves academic outcomes but also improves personal life relationships by allowing more time to spend and relax with them. Not only this, but I have also noticed a drastic behavioral change in people at my workplace as they seem to be happier now after I assign tasks and follow up with them timely Grissom, Loeb, and Mitani, (2020). This allows a more systemic form of working and a healthy bond with people.
Today, when I reflect, I realize that because I lacked time management skills, it was having a negative impact on myself and those around me to stop this vicious cycle, it is very important that we self-realize, self-reflect, and identify that time management is the only key that can bring peace, good mental health, and success to our lives as it brought in mine and I am glad it was never too late for me until I adopted the practice as now I feel more accomplished, happy and successful.
Conclusively, time management is a skill that every individual should learn to achieve success and respect. When highly successful people are taken into account, their life is studied, and their habits are observed, it is seen that time management is their utmost personality trait. It does not only help in gaining professional respect. Instead, it allows a person to grow personally and keeps their physical, mental, and emotional health intact.
Over time, I have seen myself growing and succeeding after thorough self-reflection about my time management skills, and I can confidently say that I am working towards what I desire and wish for myself. Therefore, I strongly recommend my juniors and fellows observe this habit in their lives and make time management part of their routine because ultimately, time once lost can never be gained back.
- Adams, R., and Blair, E. (2019). Impact of Time Management Behaviors on Undergraduate Engineering Students’ Performance. SAGE Open, 9(1), 215824401882450. DOI: 10.11772158244018824506
- Al-Zoubi, D. (2016). The Effect of the Time Management Art on Academic Achievement among High School Students in Jordan. Journal Of Education And Practice, 7(5).
- Cáceres, C. (2017). Re-Educating The Reflective Practitioner: A Critique of Donald Schön’s Reflective Practice and Design Education For Engineering.
- Chase, J., Topp, R., Smith, C., Cohen, M., Fahrenwald, N., and Zerwic, J. et al. (2012). Time Management Strategies for Research Productivity. Western Journal Of Nursing Research, 35(2), 155-176. DOI: 10.11770193945912451163
- CYRIL, A. (2015). TIME MANAGEMENT AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF HIGHER SECONDARY STUDENTS. I-Manager’S Journal On School Educational Technology, 10(3).
- Gläser-Zikuda, M. (2012). Self-Reflecting Methods of Learning Research. Encyclopedia Of The Sciences Of Learning, 3011-3015. DOI: 10.1007978-1-4419-1428-6_821
- Grissom, J., Loeb, S., and Mitani, H. (2020). Principal Time Management Skills: Explaining Patterns in Principals’ Time Use and Effectiveness.
- Kapur, R. (2018). Time Management- A Case Study. Mohamadkhani Ghiasvand, A., Naderi, M., Zagheri Tafreshi, M., Ahmadi, F., and Hosseini, M.
- (2017). Relationship between time management skills and anxiety and academic motivation of nursing students in Tehran. Electronic Physician, 9(1), 3678-3684. DOI: 10.190823678
- Nasrullah, S., and Khan, M. (2015). the Impact of Time Management on the Students’ Academic Achievements.
- Rodgers, C. (2002). Defining Reflection: Another Look