The world we live in is not like the world our parents lived in. We have the internet, social media, YouTube and so many other things we can spend a lot of our time on. Some people report spending in excess of six hours a day on their phones. Those aren’t six hours of being constructive, rather it is six hours of randomly scrolling and watching videos, flipping through posts, and swiping on various apps. We take in a lot of random bits of information all the time as we go about our lives. I feel that this has created a type of psychosis where people can’t be present in the physical spaces they occupy, with the real people around them. They also struggle to make sense of things because the bits of information they constantly take in is at best- disjointed, and at worse- untrue. Managing one’s time optimally in this generation isn’t only about having a schedule, it’s also about having the energy to do the things that need to be done. Our gadgets don’t only take up a lot of our time, it also takes up a lot of our energy. I’ll give you a few suggestions below on how to manage your time and consequently your energy- hopefully- a bit better than you are doing it now.
The first thing I imagine one would do, and this is what I do, is to rank the tasks you want to accomplish in order of importance. I am a university lecturer and my job currently pays my bills. I believe that it should take precedence over many other things I do in my life. If I do my job well, I am likely to grow in my career and be able to continue providing for my family. Hence, the first time I’ll set aside is the time required to do activities related to my job. Lesson planing and marking student’s scripts come to mind. The next most important thing in my life is exercise. I find that if I don’t exercise my health deteriorates significantly. When I am sick I can’t be of much use to anyone. Hence, I make sure I take time out to exercise on most days. I believe it’s imperative to constantly increase my knowledge base, so I take time out everyday to learn about new things of interest. These are examples of my having decided what I would like to prioritise in my life. You can walk yourself through a similar exercise.
Once you know what is most important for you to do in order to accomplish the things you want to accomplish, you need to allocate time to do those things. You might be a morning person and allocate an hour to exercise every morning. You might be a slow starter, and aside from getting yourself to work, you might not accomplish much in the morning. You might prefer to exercise in the evenings. Whatever your temperament, get yourself into a routine. If you are serious about education, allocate a reading hour daily. If you like writing, allocate time aside to write everyday. Whatever it is you really like doing that will also stimulate your development, make sure you do it regularly.
Cut out useless activities
Sometimes I watch a movie, or I go through a series over a very long period of time. I hardly watch TV and I hardly look to be entertained. I guess that’s my temperament and it’s not useful for everyone to be as serious minded as I am. However, if you’re spending hours a week watching movies or playing video games, then you’re wasting your time. Imagine what you could be doing in those hours? Some people could literally finish an entire degree with the amount of time they spend watching movies. I always felt that the better forms of entertainment involved doing activities that involve active participation in something that relates to the real world. Alternately, one could simply hang out with people and spend time doing physical activities or having conversations. Socialising with family and friends are very positive activities.
Keep track of what you’ve accomplished
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have a lot to do. Sometimes I feel like I’ve gotten nothing done. I look at all the things I must still do and I start to feel anxious. Then I look at all the things I’ve done so far and I start to feel less anxious. Obviously, if I had done so much work already, I must be getting somewhere. When you’re running your life well, and you are sticking to the agreements you made with yourself, allow yourself a moment to feel pleased with what you are doing. Good, I’ve done a good number of things I’ve set out to do so I am on my way to getting there! If you must rest, rest. If you need time away from pursuing your goals, take some time off. When you feel despondent it’s useful to change things up a bit. When you’re ready, go back to the tasks you need to accomplish and focus once more. We are not robots, but we can teach ourselves the tools we need to succeed. Life is time. What you do with our time is what you do with your life. You can decide what is, and you can live the life you want to.
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