The Key to Successful Time Management
In today's world, it seems like you never have enough time to get anything done. You have various responsibilities maybe including your job, taking care of the kids, running errands, cleaning the house, etc. Then, if you're like me, you have additional projects to work on. For example, I have to take the time to write this article. I also publish a podcast weekly, expand my LinkedIn network daily, consume podcasts and books weekly, etc. On top of that, I also try to get to the gym as much as I can and run at least 1 mile a day. Life is busy, I get it. When you factor in all of your responsibilities, sometimes it seems impossible to find a moment to work on any other project, or to indulge in a good book for hours, or maybe even start a side-hustle if you want to own your own business one day. The realities of life force every individual to live as time optimized as possible.
For me, currently a high school student (graduating in one month), I have to allocate my energy to school projects, exams, homework, etc. I must also allocate my energy to working 30-40 hours a week at my current job. Like I said prior, I also blog and run a podcast as well as a few other things to help build the foundations for a thriving future. My schedule can be slammed packed with to-dos. In fact, sometimes I guiltily slack on some of my responsibilities. Because I feel like I need to get an A and I obviously need to make money, I am depleted of energy when it comes to working on my more creative works. I don't write as much as I want to, I don't allocate as much time as I would like to my podcast, I don't read as much as I'd like to, see a pattern?
The problem is that I am sacrificing my wants and desires to complete the things that don't bring me as much fulfillment. I feel like I must prioritize school and grades over my interests. Did you get that? It is a game of prioritization.
After some self-reflection and various podcast listenings, I think I discovered how to win the game of prioritization. To be able to do everything I want to do as well as everything I need to do, one very simple fact comes into play.
How long does it take you to complete a task?
Fact: It takes you as long as the amount of time you allocate for it.
Whether it is a school assignment or a side-hustle, the amount of time that it takes you to complete the task is equal to the amount of time you allow yourself to complete that task. If you want to give 5 hours to a project, it will take you 5 hours to complete that project. Or if you want to push yourself you can give yourself 3 hours. Now the result after that time can fluctuate - at the end of the day, you must decide how "perfect" you want that end result to be. Overall though, this rule conveys that you have complete control over what happens and what doesn't. It is an obvious game of give and take.
So what's the point?
The point, at least for me, is that I've come to the realization that if I want to write more, I will make time to write more. If I want to allocate more time to working on my podcast, I will make more time to work on my podcast. This also means that getting an A can't be as important to me as shipping more value to my audience. I must give up the perfectionist mindset when it comes to all things school and maybe even take a pay-cut at my job due to working fewer hours. Whatever it takes to keep my priorities my priorities.
So what are your priorities, your true priorities? Do they align with your goals? Or are you allocating more time to the things that are less important to you because you feel like you have to?
Whatever the case, the key to successful time management lies in your ability to stay parallel to what truly matters most to you.