There are 60 seconds in one minute, 60 minutes in one hour, 24 hours in a day, between 720- 744 hours in any given month and finally 8,928 hours in a year, and for some it’s still not enough time. Time management, a skill I struggling to master.
How many times do you say, “I just don’t have the time, and where does all my time go?” Before the service year launched, I spent some time thinking about goals. I thought about what professional and personal goals I had and how would Volunteer Maryland help me achieve them. Earlier last week Peer Leader, Taeketra Haynes touched on the process of setting goals and the importance of having those goals down on paper. During Volunteer Maryland’s Pre- Service Training, we asked all of our Volunteer Maryland Coordinators to set professional and personal goals and how we can help them achieve and manage these goals. In mid-April, Volunteer Maryland Coordinators will report on the progress toward meeting their goals.
Over the next couple of weeks I am planning a three part series revolving around goals. As you could probably tell time management will be part one in our series focused around goals. I ask the question to all my readers, have you ever made a list to keep track of your lists? There are times when the managing our lives can get hectic and we may find ourselves not knowing which direction to go. Through my past personal experience this caused me to stress, only to find out later down the road that if I just had taken some time to step back and evaluate the situation I would have saved time not feeling so stressed. In the past I had found it a challenge dealing with stress and sometimes I still face these challenges.
Learning best practices of time management helped me reduce unwanted stress. Personally, time management is just one of the many skills and personal goals that I have to work to improve. It is not a skill that comes naturally and is a continuous learning process. Finding yourself overwhelmed by the number of projects needing to be completed each day can be exasperating. I often feel tired and as if I haven’t paid enough attention to each task because other tasks keep landing in my lap. When I was 23 my life changed, I became a parent and I quickly learned that while in college and having a young child, there was definitely not enough time in any day. I had no order to my life, and it’s funny even though I was raised by a great mother and helped with my nieces and nephews, nothing prepared me for motherhood. A typical day was wake up, feed the baby, change the baby, play with the baby, catch the baby and he was a fast little one and finally find time to eat and study. Things were getting done but not in any fashion I could be proud of. Everything was running together and I found myself living on Red Bull. The blurred lines of my life landed me in the doctor’s office only to learn that stress was affecting me physically and I needed to learn how to manage it better. I then sat down with my advisor to help develop short term and long term goals. My first step was to follow my doctor’s advice and sign up for a time management course. Through the class I learned four skills on how to effectively manage my time. First, I learned to start out with focusing on the most meaningful tasks of each day in order to eliminate getting caught up in accomplishing trivial tasks. Secondly, learning long-term management focusing on where I would like to see myself six months down the line. Seeing things long-term helped me focus on what was most import each day by breaking my long-term goals into short-term weekly goals. Third, learning to review and examine what I accomplished that day. This helped me to see what parts of the day I effectively managed well and what parts of the day I did not. The forth skill was learning to have a commitment to learning and understanding that over time life changes and what may have worked for me then may not work later. By doing this I continue learning new skills on a regular basis that help with working towards advancing in the management of my time.
There are many learning tools focusing on time management skills like the ones discussed in this blog. Through my continued everyday efforts of learning, I find myself gradually improving my time management skills. It has become a habit that is going to lead me to a more successful less stressful effective life, only 8,927 to go!