Time Management Essay, Research Paper
Things that matter most should never be at the mercy of thing that matter least . We, as human beings, let this happen much too often. Many of us waste our time on things that are neither important nor necessary, instead of using that time for thing of that are significant. Time management is not only how to get more out of you re time, but really how to become a better person. Time is a very hard thing to manage, because we can neither see it or feel it until its has passed. Before we can manage our time we must know exactly what time is. The dictionary describes it as, the duration of one s life; the hours and days which a person has at his disposal. How we dispose of that time is time management. It s the way we spend our time to organize and execute around our priorities. Remember just because time is intangible doesn t mean that it is not valuable. I want to teach you about the background of time management, the different styles and how to use them, and how it will change your life.
Time management today is not as it was in the past. It has grown with time. Stephen R. Covey places time management into four generations. He feels it has evolved the same way society has. Each generation grows on the one before it. For example, the agriculture revolution was followed by the industrial revolution, which was then followed by the informational revolution. The first wave or generation is basically notes and checklist. Which really only identifies the demands placed on our time and energy. Calendars and appointment books characterize the second generation. This reflects an attempt to look ahead. The third generation is current time management field. It s the last two generations with the ideas of prioritization, clarifying values, and comparing the worth of activities. It also includes the idea of making a specific plan to accomplish goals and activities that we determined to be of value. Because this all may be too restricting for people they turn to the previous generations to preserve relationships, and spontaneity. And the last generation, which is just beginning to emerge, is a different type of time management. The challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves. The generation focuses on relationships and results. Time management is forever changing. We each see it in our own way. It has been used since the start of time and will only improve. Just because there has been progression doesn t mean that we have progressed with it.
Styles and How To Use Them
There are many different types of time management, some are simpler and some are more complex, but all are useful. We must each find a style that we re compatible with and implement it into our lives. Even if the style you choose is not the most effective one, you must use it everyday to help better manage your time. Before you begin to manage your time you must realize that it is not a short-term project, but a life long commitment.
Getting and Staying Organized
This is a system that s purpose is to save you a few hours a day by showing you how to organize. The goal of this style of time management is to get organized so that you can convert time that you ve wasted during a normal day into time that can be used more efficiently and effectively. This style of time management is directed on business in general, but I feel it can still be applied to every day life. It gives us simple easy to do tips on how we can become organized. The first tip is to separate the things that are importance from the things that are not. Then throw away what s not important. Next tip is to place the important stuff in order that it needs to be done by creating a master list. A master list is the concept of writing everything down in an orderly, meticulous way, so that you can do a better job of staying on top of things. Another tip is to write everything down on paper. The reasoning behind this is that because you are saved from having to remember lots of information, you ll have more brainpower for more important things. This system seems to focus on the short-term and is really basic. It may work well for people who like to take things one step at a time.
For years people have kept track of meetings, appointments, unfinished work by using a daily planner. The daily planner may have many nicknames, such as Day Runners and Filofaxes, but whatever you call it is a productivity improvement tool. It helps us set our priorities, organize and plan our long-term projects, keep track of our workload, and set new goals. Also they can be used to jot down notes, memos, ideas and thoughts. It is often used as an index for telephone numbers, and addresses. This book keeps track of our daily life and helps us keep our lives in order. The great thing about a daily planner is that it can be used for your personal life as well as business life all in one. This time management tool is practical and simple to use for everyone.
Learn To Communicate
This means to by able to talk and listen in an efficient and effective matter. If we are able to improve our ability to communicate and get the information we need, then we can spend less time in meeting or explaining, and more time on more important things. Here is some of the suggestions Jeffrey Mayer made in this book, Time Management for Dummies, about communicating. Ask questions that are right to the point and easy to understand. If you don t get something come straight out and ask, don t beat around the bush. Listen to others to better understand the way they think and feel about the topic. You can learn a lot about a person just by listening. If they ask a question during this time answer it briefly and then ask them another question. Avoid asking close-ended questions that will lead to a yes or no answer. Once you have received the information paraphrase or summarize it. This will help you understand and remember it better. Let the sender know you re listening. That way they feel that they re getting through to you. I feel that because we spend so much of our time with others, learning to interact with them better is a very smart and logical idea that will save us time in the end.
Being super-prepared is to anticipate as much as possible what will occur in the future and be prepared to handle it. Another way of putting this is being proactive (highly pg.75). You are taking control of the situation at hand. You are not letting things that you have no control over have control over you. For example, you wake up to a snowstorm and your car won t start but you have to go to work. You either let that stop you or you can take control of that situation. If you were prepared because you checked the weather channel the day before you might have plugged in your car or woken up earlier to catch the bus. You should always be prepared for anything. By taking time to get prepared you will end up saving more time in the long run. This is a reasonable and easy way to save time.
Put First Things First
This style or system of time management is one that I ve already mentioned. It is the fourth of the generations, which Stephen R. Covey calls Put First Things First. This is, I feel the best style of time management because it so elaborate. What it tries to do is balance the production (of desired results) over the production capability, or P/PC Balance. You do this by prioritizing your activities so that you can get the important thing done.
Effectiveness lies in this balance. Excessive force on P and you deplete the PC. For example if you stay up all night studying and working on final projects everyday for weeks on end, you ll end up burning your self out. Maybe even end up worse than when you started, because you re too tried to listen in class or even to concentrate on a test. If you place too much force on the PC you ll never get P at its max. For example, someone who is constantly exercising to look better for others, but he never has time to go out because the free time he does have he uses to workout. He s not meeting his desired results. An example of the P/PC Balance would be to get good grades in school (the Production) and paying the price to get an education (the Production Capability), which gives us the chance to get those grade so that we can get a degree. It is very difficult to judge the balance of the two. The great thing about the P/PC Balance is that it balances the long-term with the short-term. That is the first aspect of this style of time management. Identifying what needs to be done to be effective. The next step is figuring out how to meet those needs.
How do we manage out time so that we can get things done most effectively? Covey calls it the Time Management Matrix.
Figure 1.1 Time Management Matrix
It captures the essential focus of this generation of time management. It helps us identify how we spend our time. There is basically four ways we spend time. The two factors that define our activities are urgent and important. Urgent means it must be done. These things act on us, and are easy to identify. Many of the urgent things are unimportant, such as answering a telephone call. Importance deals with results. If something is important to you it contributes to your mission, your values and goals. Important matters are usually not urgent because we act on them. It s us who seize the opportunity to make things happen.
The first quadrant deals with matters that are both urgent and important. These are things that demand immediate attention or in other words crises or problems. If you focus on living problem-minded or deadline-driven quadrant I will only get bigger. There are many that spend their time in quadrant III, urgent and unimportant, even though they feel that we re in quadrant I. They spend their time reacting to things that are urgent and assume that they are also important. This is because they base matters on the priorities and expectations of other. People who spend their lives in quadrant III & IV are really irresponsible. The key to good time management is living in quadrant II. This is where you spend your time dealing with things that are not urgent but important. When these matters aren t tended to they become quadrant I. By being in this quadrant we feed opportunities and starve problem. This is because we act on our opportunities before they re gone and don t let problems grow so big that we can t handle them. By doing this we shrine quadrant I.
Quadrant II is getting things done, while keeping you P/PC Balance. To be in quadrant I you must say no to quadrants III & IV. You can t ignore quadrant I you can only make it smaller. You have to say no to things that are important and yes to those that are. That is the only way to have time to accomplish them. To be in quadrant II you must be able to do three things: (1) prioritize, (2) organize around those priorities; (3) and have discipline.
Most time management tends to strain on relationships rather then build on them. As each generation build on those that have preceded it, the strengths and some of the tools of the first three generations provide elemental material for the fourth. That is why I find this style of time management to be the best. It incorporates the best of time management styles and combines them altogether in a very logical easy to understand manner.
How Does It Change Your Life
Learning how to manage your time and successfully applying it to your life will liberate you. Really, time is the freedom and power we need to better ourselves. Once time management has become a way of life you will find your self-living a more relaxed lifestyle. Your whole life will become less stressful. While some stress is useful, it can help in focusing and increasing efficiency; too much stress creates problems. In fact, 70% of medical visits are stress related. Time management may very well improve you health. It may improve your career by helping you to be able to plan the use of your time so that tasks can be completed in timely manner, and so time is available for planning, thinking, and reflection. It will indubitably better your social life by giving you more time to spend with loved one. Also it will give you more personal time to yourselves. Because we are managing such a precious commodity that is time, the way it effects ourselves is endless and priceless.