Time is the only non-renewable resource we humans possess. It is valuable and limited that we individuals should protect it, we can protect our time by keeping our time on track. However, the concept of time management is harder than we think. Time management is one of the major obstacles people face, it is common for everyone; especially to us students, majority of us struggle regularly on meeting numerous deadlines, demands, and expectations of our parents, teacher, friends, co-workers, and society. During my first year of study of my associate degree, time management was my biggest enemy. The year was like a roller coaster ride full of ups and downs. I struggled with allocating my time for my family, friends, study, and work that led me to felt threatened by stress as I have to go to work almost every day while school projects and presentations are piled up with all those stresses, it made me understand what the importance of time management and what advantages and drawbacks is it gives.
Time management is a method of planning and organizing our time into the different divisions to do a specific task, in aiming to achieve efficient use of our time whereas performing a goal-directed activity. It is a way of “using the less time to do more”. Time management is crucial not only to our professional time but also to our personal lives as it is connected to completing a task and how meeting a goal. Having good time management benefits us in numerous ways by enabling us to work smarter-not harder; not only that it helps us increase our productivity and reduces our stress level but also helps us balance our school, work, and personal life. It also provides us opportunities for advancement and opportunities on achieving what is important in our life and career.
Stephen Covey has developed a tool the” time management matrix” that breaks our activities into 4 parts: Quadrant of Necessity, Quadrant of Quality, Quadrant of Deception, and Quadrant of Waste, respectively. With Covey’s Matrix, we are able to recognize and differentiate the urgency and the importance of the things we should get done in a given time.
Time management was my biggest hurdle throughout the 1st year of my associate degree. As a working student, it was very difficult for me to split my time for study, part-time work, and social life. With dozens of homework’s, projects, presentations that must be done throughout the year I was stressed out as I have to go to work almost every day just like I have to be for school. Not only because I needed the money for my tuition fee and pocket money but also, I could not say no to my previous manager as the restaurant I was working for was lacking staff. Thus, I have to take the shift in order for them to have a smooth operation. In fact, I prioritize my work more than my schooling, to the point that examination week has come, and I still work almost every day.
I would usually try to avoid procrastination however during the year, I realized that “time famine” is not a joke at all. I was so stressed out as regardless of how I try to finish everything before the deadlines, I always find that I don’t have enough time for all of them. Because of my poor time management, my grades in the 1st year of my study turned out to be quite unsatisfactory and lower than my expectation. I felt out of control of my time as my daily schedule is so tight that even a little time for myself was impossible. I missed out on a lot of important family gatherings and reunions with my friends, School from the morning, and straight to work at nightfall. I wasn’t much of a difference to a “robot” I would say.
With all the experienced I became more self-aware, it came to my sense I am acquiescent, As I prefer not to say “No” most of the time to people even though I have so many more important things to deal with, I also realized that I am a people pleaser, as I always wanted to keep everyone around me happy and like me to an extent that even I became restless it’s alright. I always try to avoid conflicts with people and make them comfortable around me.
A few of the things I will remember about what I have learned over the past semesters is that I need to plan and prioritize tasks by their level of importance and differentiate what is urgent and what is important. I also learned that it is important to keep the people around us happy, however, it is much more crucial for us to focus on our life rather than pleasing everyone especially when it comes to the matter that is about our future. Lastly, it is very important to maintain a balance of work, social, and school life as it will affect us physically and emotionally.
Owing to the fact that I had poor time management, this led to stress very bad temper and mood swings was some of the emotional signs of my stress. I was easily agitated and frustrated. While physically, I always felt headaches and ingestions. However, despite having all those symptoms I reckon that it was all Eustress (positive stress) as not only it pushed me to finish all my deadlines it also provided me an opportunity to raise my stress tolerance for future challenges that awaits me.
Since I have missed a lot of opportunities and got myself stressed out for one whole year, I came up with some action to improve not only my grades but also myself. One of the strategies that really help me to overcome my obstacle is to have a dynamic task list, this help me organize the things that matter more and help me focus on high-value activities; by listing all the task down and organizing them according to their importance helped me finish my task without last-minute scrambling or sacrificing the quality.
For example, family emergencies and education matter to me the most at this moment thus I list them as my top priority which belongs to Quadrant 1 as they are important and urgent. While maintaining a good relationship with family and friends as well as analyzing my career path belong to the Quadrant 2 (not urgent but important) whereas favor from coworkers and pleasing them sits on Quadrant 3 as they are important but not urgent on achieving my goal and mission. Lastly, I set watching TV, social media browsing, and playing games to be at least important (Quadrant 4).
Another strategy that helps me was to get over my biggest hurdle was to limit my multitasking. I used to think that multitasking will help save me time and accomplish more tasks within a period of time, but then I realize multitasking lowered my productivity as I could not effectively concentrate and maintain the focus I needed to get my work done.
I came up with a realization that my stress has a strong correlation with my poor time management. Thus, in order for me to lessen my stress and avoid time famine. I should strive for good time management skills which are essential to be learned and mastered in order to have a better personal and professional life, having good time management is beneficial to us as it could reduce our stress but can also make free time for us to sit back, relax and unwind, it can also help us learn more about self-discipline which is a crucial pillar for stable success. To conclude, I came with an idea that time management is a concept of balance and moderation of the things that are important to us. We can improve our time management skills by following some strategies such as using Stephen Covey’s time matrix, making a dynamic task list, and limiting our multitasking.