Balancing our time is a skill which evolves as we grow. When we are young, we are shown how this particular skill is managed effectively. During our younger years, parents make the executive decisions for us regarding time management. We are told what sports teams we will be a part of, what functions we will attend, and we are constantly shuttled back and forth from practices, school, and home.
As we grow older the responsibility of time management shifts from our parents to us. We pick our own sports and functions to involve ourselves with. Eventually, we have our license and the commuting to and from activities become the only time in which you are seemingly doing nothing. Yet, ironically you are performing an act which leads you to the craziness of things you have committed yourself to.
I have found that there are two basic things which motivate people, time and money. Money is a driving force to why we do just about anything that we do, and as college students we feel we can never have enough. We as a society are extremely motivated by money and are constantly craving more.
However, just about everything we do is based off time. It is almost a guarantee that when you walk into any public building or room, there will be a clock on the wall displaying the time. We are constantly in a battle with time, we have class or work at a specific time, and deadlines are given with time restraints. With time being such a driving force in our life, it is important we have the ability to manage it effectively.
From the day I turned 16 I have had a job. My parents always taught me the importance of being frugal and made sure I knew the “value of a dollar”. So, when I was offered a position at a store which allowed me very flexible hours, friendly people to surround myself with, and most importantly to me 25 percent off anything I wanted, I quickly took advantage of the opportunity. I sometimes was upset about spending my free time at work, but as soon as I got my first paycheck my attitude quickly changed. I became very intrigued with making my own money.
I worked this job throughout high school and found balance between being a good employee and being a responsible student. I felt pretty confident about the time management skills I had acquired.
During the first week of classes as a college student I felt good about the workload I had, and realized that I had too much free time on my hands. With this realization I set out and found myself a work study position.
After the first week of classes, more and more homework was assigned and I found myself becoming overwhelmed with all the deadlines set before me. Having a job, I no longer had the free time in the afternoons which I could fill with homework. I was in a constant shuffle from class, to the cafeteria, to work, to a quick and never long enough homework session, on to practice, then finally to my room to catch up on my favorite shows.
At this point my time was managing me. I was going through the motions of all my commitments and wasn’t giving any of them the effort they required in order for me to become successful. I no longer had any balance or control over school and work.
I realize how important schoolwork is, and I was struggling to be successful at school, work, and my activities. I have always been told that school is my job, and it needs to be my number one priority. Feeling like I was failing at both school and work, I found it necessary to evaluate how I was spending my time.
After some reflection I realized that I was never really focused on the thing I was doing at the time. While I was in class I would be focused on how to make time in the day to nap, while at work I would make a mental checklist of my homework that needed to be completed, and while at practice I would be wondering what would happen on Jersey Shore. I realized that in order for me to get anything done I needed to have a clear and focused mind on the task set before me. I needed to take back the control of managing my own time by clearing my mind to focus on accomplishing one thing at a time.
As I found out, it can be incredibly overwhelming trying to be successful at it all. We are expected to make good grades, perform well on the field, and be a good employee. While this is stressful, I have found that the most effective way to deal with it all is to manage your time responsibly.
Morgan Givney is a freshman with an undecided major. You may e-mail her at email@example.com.