When I was in high school, I was pretty good with time management. I would come home from school, get a snack, watch a little TV, get on my laptop until dinner, and then after dinner was always dedicated to homework. It was the same routine everyday, which I believe is why I never had a hard time getting things done in a timely fashion. I had a rhythm, and I stuck to it.
But, when I went to college, my classes were all different times every single day, and every single semester. It was really difficult to get into a routine where I always had the same amount of time to get my homework done. I always got my stuff turned in on time, but I always felt like I finished my work without a lot of time to spare. There must have been a better way.
During my Sophomore year of college, I was sitting in my interior design class, when my professor walked up to the front of the room. (Ironically, this was the same class that triggered my depression). We were approaching finals, and everyone was scrambling to get things done. She started off by saying that it took her a while to learn time management skills. Then, she said this.
“It will take you the amount of time you have set aside to do something.”
Everyone looked around at each other, not quite understanding what she meant or where she was going with this. Of course it would take you a specified amount of time to complete a task. How was that a time management trick? But, then she elaborated.
“If I set aside five hours to get a paper done, I will use the entire five hours. But, if I only give myself an hour to do it, it will only take me an hour.”
We all understood. It made sense. If you gave yourself a shorter amount of time to do something, then you were more likely to minimize all distractions and really focus on what you were trying to accomplish. There wouldn’t be time for checking your phone, or turning on the TV, or scrolling through Instagram. All you had to focus on was what was in front of you.
Obviously, there are certain things that would be physically impossible to get done in a shorter amount of time. It would be really difficult to get a semester long project done in an hour, or clean your entire home in fifteen minutes. But, for smaller, more frequent tasks, setting yourself a deadline could help.
I’ve been using this trick ever since my professor mentioned it. Sure, there are times when I’m not motivated enough to get things done in the time I had allotted for them, but there are also times when I push myself to meet the deadline. Like tonight. I set aside an hour to get this blog post done. When I write a blog post like this, it can sometimes take me a few hours with all of the distractions that are around. I’ll write a few sentences, check Facebook, write a couple more sentences, watching a couple of Youtube videos… it’s kind of awful. This time, I set aside an hour to get this one written. And you know what? I didn’t allow myself to have distractions, and I actually did everything in under an hour, which shocked me.
I always think that there’s never enough time in the day, but it might just be that we’re not using our time to the best of our ability. If we’re able to maximize what we can get done in an hour, that’s more time that we can have to ourselves later.
Remember, you have the same amount of time in the day as Beyonce.