Time Management: No More Mr. Nice Guy
They say time is money but really it’s not
If we ever go broke girl, then time is all we got
And you can’t make that back, no you can’t make that back
I am more generous with my money than I am with my time. One of the biggest lessons about time management I’ve learned, is learning how to say no. Saying no to friends, events invitations, and sometimes even saying no to yourself for the sake of preserving your most valuable asset.
Money isn’t your most valuable asset, time is. Yes you make a certain amount of money a week, but only after spending 40 hours at your place of work. You have a college degree, that probably took 120 or so credit hours to complete. No matter how much money you have, it will never replace the hours of planning, implementation and execution it took to get there. Money can’t buy meaningful relationships, only time can do that. Money doesn’t replace the years of experience needed for you to apply for that job, you have to put in that time.
I’m taking 17 credit hours in graduate school while working 30 hours a week. This doesn’t even count the hours of volunteer work I have between serving on the University’s Board of Athletics, the Direct of Campus Recreation Search Committee, as well as various other commissions and committees. I look at my time like I do money. The difference is that God gave us time tax free. Everyday you’re afforded the same 24 hours as the next person. The difference is how that 24 hours are spent. I use a block scheduling technique that has worked wonders for my schedule. I block my schedule into three 8 hour segments. Sleep: 12am-8am, School/Work: 8am-5pm, Leisure Time: 5pm-9pm, Homework: 9pm-12am.
Here are some tips that has worked for me over the years as I become a better time manager.
I know how it feels to stay up late nights to meet deadlines. The problem with this is that your performance for the next 24 hours decreases drastically. Getting the recommended 7-8hours of sleep of night allows you to better utilize the 16-17 hours you have left. I set a bedtime for 12am for myself. When I don’t manage my time well, I end up having to stay up to 3am finishing projects. This slows everything down completely. I’ll tell you how I solve that problem.
Be on time!
When I played football for the University, we had something called “Illini Time”. This was 10 minutes before you had to be anywhere. You have a 6am workout? You have to be there at 5:50am. You have a 2:30pm meeting? You have to be there at 2:20pm. Transferring this mindset to other aspects of life will have you early to your classes, meetings, and will give you a peace of mind. Always being late means you don’t manage your time well. Those deadlines won’t budge and always assume that class will start on time. Even though my classes don’t start until 9:30am, that early start allows me to do other work, check emails, meditate and really prepare to tackle the work ahead me.
You deserve a break, truly. Self care is often neglected when we are so persistent on achieving a goal. My dad always told me that having all the money in the world means nothing if you’re not alive to reap the benefits. Making sure that you take care of your mental, emotional and physical health will pay dividends in the long run. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Social media makes everything seem so instantaneous, but in actuality it takes time. Take a break from social media. “Unplug from the matrix” as my prophyte would say. It allows you to really think about yourself and put yourself first. Ultimately, that’s who you’re in competition with, yourself. Take the time out of the day to show yourself some appreciation, then get back to work.
Above all, your most valuable asset is your time. This is something that should be budgeted, and carefully invested. Whether you’re investing 40 hours of your time at work, or 17 credit hours of your time in school, you always want to get a return on that investment. I manage my time well, because I don’t have any to waste. Too much free time on your schedule could be dangerous. Replace those gaps with activities that make you productive.
There’s no time to waste, literally.
Here’s a clean version of J.Cole’s song quoted above, Mr. Nice Watch