Managing Time – Part One

One of these days, I’ll learn to start by writing what I know rather than make vain attempts to be witty.

It is a Saturday. It is a gorgeous Saturday that has already been full of noisy breakfasts, really good coffee, amazing flag football, and a bit of website wrangling as I work to get DawningSky to a place where I want it to be. And it’s only 11:30 AM. For some people, this is a usual Saturday wake-up time. For me… well, my day isn’t even halfway over.

One of my many responsibilities and joys is teaching university students, and the most important topic that I teach is time management. Time is one of those few commodities that is doled out to everyone in equal amounts on this planet. We all have twenty-four hours in our day, and there are seven days in our week. This means we have one hundred and sixty-eight hours at our mercy each week so we can accomplish whatever we decide to undertake. No more, no less.

Time management seems so… common sense. We can allot a set amount of time to a task, we can choose to schedule events on a calendar, we can check our PDAs and phones to see what reminder shows up next. But when it comes to actually using our time wisely to work to our fullest potential, it becomes a huge challenge. Somehow, that time disappears and we spend even more time later wondering where that time went and how we can go about getting that time back.

The biggest factor in managing time, as I’ve seen it year after year after year, is ambition. Drive. Purpose, even. Whatever you want to call it, those people who have got the primary skills down regarding time management have recognized and embraced some intrinsic motivation that pushes them towards a goal. They don’t all use calendars or set up notifications on cutting-edge applications, and they don’t all have hundreds of professional commitments that would make any personal assistant scream in frustration. What they do all have is a system that works as well as a reason to consistently use that system.

As a writer, I am motivated by word count and page count. I love to see the numbers go up, but I also know that it is meaningless to fill a page with low-quality words and ideas just to satisfy a number for a day. Sound time management means that I choose my words carefully to make the best use of my time. As a voiceover artist, useable time in a noisy household is precious, and I have to prioritize my activities when those moments arrive. As a university instructor, my time management is crucial to delivering grades on time as well as being abel to maintain that open-door office hours policy that I see as vital to best assisting my students. As a parent, time management is the difference between clean and dirty socks on a school morning or healthy dinners versus haphazard takeout on the way home from the afternoon drive.

At the end of the day, it really is just all about time.

For now, I capitalize on a child’s naptime and a quiet house to write this entry and continue to work on the blog’s appearance. I list out what I want to do and decide in advance when I can accomplish those tasks, and I come to the realization that perhaps not everything can be accomplished today… but as long as I continue to work as a function of that inner purpose, then I can still consider things to be accomplished.

This entry was posted on Saturday, May 8th, 2010 at 3:53 pm and is filed under time management. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Managing Time – Part One”

  1. Nicole Says:

    I try to find witty ways to start blog posts, but I never quite make it.

    Time management is so important in order to make the most out of your day. I work from home, so I have no one to answer to if my work doesn’t get done. That’s a lot of pressure. But I’ve found ways to make it all work. It’s taken a long time to get there, though, and I’m sure as time progresses, I will find other, more effective ways, to increase my productivity.

  2. Pearce Kilgour Says:

    I still have about 2 or 3 blog posts ‘in the can’ that I can work on and have ready to go, once I finish them. Always good to have some extras ready to go for content.

  3. Edward G. Talbot Says:

    Yep, it’s about motivation. I spend too much time screwing around during the window when I should be writing. An hour every day is three novels a year (not including editing, etc). I still can do a novel a year, but one of these days maybe I will get motivated to cut out the BS.

    Or not.