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Time: The Most Coveted Natural Resource

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done anything on Time Management. Below is an excerpt from a new book I’m writing on stress prevention for college students.

~ Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Time is a natural resource more precious than all the gold, diamonds, and precious metals in existence and coveted by almost every human being who ever lived.

Everyone single one of us is marching toward inevitability—at some point in the distant future our physical bodies will no longer be functional on this Earth and we want to find things to fill our time, things that intrigue us and make us happy, before that happens. Ineffective time management can and often does lead to stress and a lack of satisfaction in our every day lives—and who wants that?

How many people do you know say things like:

  • I’ve got so much to do and so little time to do it.
  • I stayed up all night studying
  • I wish I had a clone
  • I am so overwhelmed with all my work.
  • This stack of work on my desk is really piling up.
  • I wish I could get more done.
  • I want…
  • I hope…
  • I should…

One solution to all of these statements can be an implementation of time management strategies…(here are a few) juicy pieces of time management.

Schedule It:

Once a week for an hour or so you should take out your planner, your Google or Mac calendar, or some kind of a spreadsheet—whatever device that suits you best—and plan out as much of your week as possible and schedule each task.

Notice that I didn’t say pull out your stone tablet and chisel and plot out your week. Your schedule is a living, breathing entity that needs flexibility and room to adjust to the errant curveballs we’re all thrown from time to time.

If you don’t already practice writing down your schedule, think about how many times you might have forgotten to be at an important meeting for work or with a professor or maybe you missed a friend’s birthday or a romantic anniversary. Writing down your schedule will go a long way in saving you from ever looking like a flake or an insensitive tool-bag ever again.

The easy part is knowing that you have class at certain times and you should certainly write those hours in but you should also be writing in things like:

  • Homework—Schedule it, do it, and get it out of the way.
  • Meal breaks—Sometimes people like to linger with the time they take for a lunch break. But if you’re okay with taking a half hour as opposed to a full hour, you can spend more time writing that paper or out on that hot date—things that may be a better use of your time.
  • Sleep or rest: Just because you’re a quasi superhuman college student dynamo doesn’t mean you don’t need to schedule in breaks to rest, relax, or sleep.

Batch similar tasks:

This is one of my all time faves. Since you’ve already mastered the, “I’m going to write my schedule down,” portion—know that when you’re scheduling things out, you should schedule all like items together for maximum efficiency.

Put all of your highly creative and problem solving activities in one chunk of time like:

  • Writing a research paper
  • Creative Writing
  • Studying, reading, or preparing for a speech
  • Figuring out what women want

Put all of the things together that you can move through quickly, like:

  • Emails
  • Unimportant phone calls
  • Paying your bills
  • A five minute fad workout 

If you don’t believe me, try writing a research paper while answering emails at five to ten minute intervals. You won’t be able to focus properly on either task and that research paper you thought would be a five hour task will turn into an all day affair. Once you go batch, you won’t go back (and face-palm)…

Stay tuned—next week I’ll have some more advanced time management techniques.

PS. I have a new musical (which I’ve written) having a two performance run here in New York City—Sweet Hour of Prayer, a look into the age-old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Featuring more than fifteen traditional Gospel hymns and spirituals including: Amazing Grace, This Little Light of Mine, Elijah Rock and more. Sweet Hour of Prayer is a story of faith, community, and love in the face of tremendous adversity. Tickets are here: http://www.churchdramacompany.org/reserve-tickets.html

 

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