Many of us define ourselves by our output. I use the word “output” to encompass a number of things: our ability to give and receive, our ability to hold up our end of the bargain, our ability to make some positive difference, our ability to do our work efficiently. I am in no way trying to dehumanize our efforts but I’d like to bring attention to the correlation between how we perceive the quality of our output and the use of our time.
As we grow older (and wiser of course), our personal and professional interests and responsibilities expand. We have to learn how to effectively juggle the different areas of our lives. Time management is one of those critical skills that we develop both subconsciously and intentionally as we add more to our plates. It is an imperfect system and a constant work in progress which makes mastering it rather tricky.
I believe that time management is extremely important for a million reasons. Aside from the fact that good time management skills reduce stress while simultaneously freeing up hours in the day, it gives us the opportunity to be present. I found that I was mindlessly living day to day. Some days I would be on auto-pilot with this very robot-like mentality because all I could think about was “just getting it done”. I was constantly thinking about the next thing I had to do and the next place I had to be because I hadn’t created a system that would put me at ease.
I then began making lists… lots and lots of lists. I realized that being able to visually see what my day/week/month looked like whenever I wanted was comforting. It only took a few minutes to create these lists and I didn’t have to spend the rest of the day worrying that I maybe forgot to do something. Putting a checkmark next to a completed task made me feel awesome and accomplished which didn’t hurt either. I was able to organize my appointments and activities, plan out what things to do when to get the most out of my time, and in general, stress less. Lists work for me. I can finally take my time back and do the things I do with intention and purpose. I can actually THINK about what it is I’m doing and enjoy each task and activity.
Time management is so much more than just organizing my day though. It is about the peace of mind I get that allows my mind, heart, and body to fully engage in my work and shared time with loved ones.
How do you manage YOUR time?
Jessica Ha is a counselor and a freshman advisor at Florida Tech