Mastering Time Gives Power Over Life

Time is constant, yet harnessing time for productive and personal use falls on the individual.  Everyone has the same amount of time, although the difference between success and failure rests on how time is utilized.  It is tough to juggle every event from all aspects of life, remember each one, and complete it promptly.  Sudden incidents arise, people can become flustered, and the weight of the world comes crashing down.  While it may be tempting to throw in the towel, step back, take a deep breath, do something relaxing for a bit, then dive back in.  You never lose unless you quit.

Taking Charge: Your Education, Your Career, Your Life explains the benefits of time management and tips on the most efficient ways of managing time.  The key of time management is to map out a daily timeline of tasks to be completed and stick to it. Every night before bed, make a list of things to be accomplished the next day and arrange them in order of importance.  When a task is done, cross it off.  The sense of accomplishment gained from physically deleting a difficult task will help feed the willpower to move on the next one.  This actually helps to free up time because it eliminates all the minutes spent worrying about what needs to be done and actually doing it.  Don’t think.  Don’t try.  Just do.

To effectively manage life, rise above the daily routines and plan for the big picture.  In addition to taking care of daily tasks, think about how these responsibilities relate to other areas of life and the future.  A monthly calendar provides a broader outlook on your timeline.  Knowing you have a test in two weeks helps to create better daily lists to break down the study time in blocks.  Cramming the day before will not only give less understanding of the material, but will throw off your routine since you must postpone the day’s tasks until tomorrow.

Because many people work from their computers, plenty of time management tools are available for free download.  Now Do This is a simple to-do list application that keeps your most important tasks at the forefront.  Evernote is a note-taking application that syncs to mobile devices so wherever you are, you can write and retrieve notes.  Toggl tracks time spent working on projects and helps you switch easily between different tasks.

The scenario is the same.  Everyone experiences it.  You sit staring at a blank word document watching the cursor blink and blink and blink.  You think about your task for a moment, and then wander into some far off place.  Your eyes dart back to the cursor.  Still blinking.  “Maybe I’ll go get some coffee,” you tell yourself.  When you sit down again, the cursor continues to taunt you.  “How about I check my email?”  This could go on for hours.  The best way to begin is just to start writing.  The entire paper doesn’t need to be finished, and you can always revise it later.  This works for anything.  If the house is a mess, start cleaning one room and chances are the momentum will build enough to complete the entire chore.  The more you dwell on the difficulty of a duty, the harder it becomes to start it.

-John

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