by Mathew Green 'Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.’ Goethe. Time management is so important. Life is pretty busy, we have so many things to do and so many people to see that we are often left feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Personally, time management has been one of my biggest challenges and I am constantly learning how to do it better. Unfortunately, life doesn’t seem to get any simpler, things will always be due and schedules will always change at the last minute. Today I wanted to talk about some of the approaches that I have learnt that have helped me to manage my time more effectively - I hope that you find it useful. "
One of my favourite books is ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey. I have learnt more from this books that the hundreds of others that I have studied. Dr. Covey, in his chapter ‘Principles of Personal Management’ really tackles some of the foundational components of personal growth and development. I highly recommend reading this book, it’s quite content heavy and takes while to read.
I know the feeling, a million things to do; bills to pay, people to see, bills to pay, work commitments, bills to pay, and finally, some sort of semblance of a social life.
I wish that I had begun to develop the principles of effective time management while I was in high school. Time management is one of those grown up words like ‘banks,’ or ‘bills’ or ‘responsibility.’ But it doesn’t have to be as dry as a dessert sandal, it can actually be something that is freeing and empowering. Bear with me and I’ll show you how, and we dispel some of the ‘myths.’
Myth #1 – Productivity is linked to how busy you are.
I’ve used a lot of grown up words there. There are plenty of people that run a round really busily, but actually achieve very little – I am guilty of this and I’m sure that I’m not alone. Time management doesn’t actually have to be that hard, life is meant to be fun.
Myth #2 – You CAN do everything well.
I learnt the hard way – you can’t do everything, you reach at point in which you can’t physically ‘fit’ anymore things into your week. The problem is if you keep adding more and more things to do, you will end up doing everything at a limited capacity. In other words, you will fall not the trap of doing everything badly – even the things that are closest to your heart like quality time with your family and friends.
Myth #3 – You don’t deserve anytime to yourself.
In a world where were so contactable through mobile phones, twitter, facebook and other wonderful yet time consuming things, we need to find time for ourselves. It’s not selfish, I believe that it’s absolutely necessary. My wife and I have regular ‘Green Space’ – each Saturday we spend at least a few hours working on our own projects, dreaming and, well, just enjoying our own company. I love spending time with my family and friends, it’s one of my most favourite things to do, but I really do value the time that I get to myself.
Once you understand these principles, you can start ‘designing’ your week.
Firstly, decide what’s important first – it’s your week.
One of my heroes, of how shall remain nameless, once shared with me that you have to put the ‘big rocks’ in place first. The big rocks might be things like: school, family dinner, Saturday sport, or time to yourself. It is ok to have some non-negotiables, I have to work and I have many other responsibilities. The ‘big rocks’ are things that you just have to do, if you neglect your responsibilities then that your just plain foolish. One you have in place your ‘big rocks’ you can start with the smaller ones – or those things that are not imperative, but still important. These ‘smaller rocks’ might be things like reading, shopping or going to the movies.
Secondly, learn the art of ‘no’ – be polite, but get your point across
Now this is a really tricky one – saying ‘no’ is quiet easy, but the hardest thing is to do it politely, and in a way that it honours people. Saying ‘no’ is ok, it’s your week, and you have the right to decide how you spend your time. Once again, saying ‘no’ doesn’t give you the right to neglect your responsibilities, but it does allow you to decide where you spend your time.
To summarise, time management allows you to decide where you spend your time. Your time is one of the most precious resources that you have – invest it wisely. I hope that you find these tools useful, I look forward to hearing your experiences.
About the author:
Mathew Green is a primary school teacher who runs mycents, an online financial literacy resource, encouraging young people to make sound and educated financial decisions. Link: www.mycents.com.au
Register now to join YourKidsEd for e-updates with new feature articles, links, and inspiring ideas to educate and enrich your kids! It's FREE!!