Get out that day-timer: A guide for busy people

By Amber Zirnhelt
Columneetza Senior Secondary
Williams Lake, British Columbia

Although we waste time everyday, we usually don't sit at home thinking about how we can waste our time. But, even more importantly, we probably don't spend enough time thinking about how we can manage time more effectively.

The typical teenage scene: you are sitting at home with a bunch of homework to do, but you are watching TV hoping to put it off as long as you can. Suddenly, the phone rings and it's Jim, asking if you want to go out to the movies. In the back of your head you know that you shouldn't, but you go anyway.

After the movies, you are having such a great time that you can't pass up the offer to go out for coffee. By the time you get home, it's well after 10:00 and you feel totally wasted. Sitting down at the kitchen table, you flip open your science book and the page is a blur. You try to study but you end up feeling too overwhelmed and you go to bed. The next day you end up getting 58% on your Science Quiz and feel stressed out.

Instead of regretting "wasting your time" (or rather spending it with Jim), it's important that you look at the situation as something to learn from. The most important thing to being successful is knowing how to manage your time effectively. If you have millions of things going on at once, you will more than likely end up getting stressed out. Stress can cause you to feel both physically and mentally fatigued.

If you are a busy person, it makes a huge difference to carry a day planner with you. That way you can take notes on important things and keep track of what you have to do and when it has to be done.

The second step to managing your time effectively is setting priorities — know what you want, what you need and when things must be done. If you have something that you have to get done, do it before you go out to the movies or before you talk on the phone. That way you won't end up feeling overwhelmed and thinking "I should have done my homework before I talked on the phone, or it was such a waste of time to go to the movies."

Her are some Time Management tips given at the Student Leadership Seminar in Kamloops, British Columbia in May:

  • Enjoy whatever you are doing
  • Don't waste time regretting failures
  • Don't waste time feeling guilty about what you didn't do
  • Remind yourself that there is always time for the important things. If it's important, you'll make time to do it.
  • Always carry a pen and paper with you to jot down notes and ideas
  • Use a "To Do List" every day. Prioritize the tasks and do your best to get the important ones done as soon as possible
  • Concentrate on one thing at a time
  • Set deadlines
  • Focus on items that will have the best results or benefits
  • Delegate as much as possible. It will free up your time for other activities, but more importantly, it will allow other people to get involved and contribute.

Another key factor to time management is allowing time for you. If you are always on the go and never take the time to sit down and put your feet up, you will end up feeling stressed out. Although stress can have positive effects like helping you to meet deadlines, it can also have negative effects.

If you become too stressed out and too busy, you won't be able to do a good job at what you are doing. Also, it can cause problems in relationships at home and with friends. You may find yourself over-committed and neglecting a friendship or you may end up being so uptight that you burst every time someone says something.

Remember that life is about living and having fun. Enjoy everything that you do and you won't regret a minute!


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