How to Get It All Done
Sherri Dickie | Vector Marketing
You’re back in classes, your DECA chapter is in full swing once again, you’ve got a part-time job, and you’d still like to squeeze in a social life. And you’re wondering how you’ll get it all done.
Time management is one of those versatile soft skills that, once you develop some key strategies, will greatly impact all areas of your life.
When we think about everything on that to-do list, it is easy to become overwhelmed, and the more overwhelmed we are, the more we search for a convenient distraction. That satisfies the need to feel busy, but, unfortunately, we’re not productive.
And the more distracted we make ourselves, the more likely we are to get distracted. What do you think is the most important skill of the 21st century?
Many might say coding – and while that certainly is a beneficial skill, that’s not the most important one. Learning to control your attention and staying focused on what’s important to you is the game-changer.
On average, we are distracted every three minutes, and it then takes 11 minutes to regain our concentration. It’s like an unused muscle—we have created attention atrophy, and we’re losing our ability to concentrate and stay focused. We must have the mentality that we are going to war against distractions. We need to be intentional with our lives, yet we get absorbed in YouTube, TV, and Facebook, and spend more time following other people’s lives and less time leading our own.
Being busy can feel great: we feel important, needed, and validated. But it’s likely not bringing us any closer to our goals. Don’t mistake movement for achievement or activity for productivity.
Here are three tips that will help you become a master of time management:
1. Realize life isn’t about balance—learn to be present.
There will need to be times of AOMA– All Out Massive Action. If you think about an airplane taking off, it is full throttle to get up in the air, then once it’s up, it stabilizes and pulls back. There will be times when you’re going to need to give more attention to your studies when preparing for finals, or more time to DECA when you’re practicing your role-play for the International Career Development Conference.
There is no such thing as balance. It’s a myth. Everything will not be equal. If you’re standing still, you’re balanced, but you’re not going anywhere. Successful people don’t think about balance, they just focus on being present. Wherever you are, be there! One of the biggest game-changers you can work on is being present. When you’re out with your friends on Saturday night, don’t be worrying about that mid-term on Monday; however, when you’re studying, don’t be on Snapchat. Be present wherever you are.
2. Don’t major in the minor things.
Always have a schedule. Whether you use the paper day planner that your school gives you, or you put everything into the calendar on your phone, it doesn’t matter your system, so long as you have one! When scheduling your time, think of your week as a large glass jar. You need to fill it with rocks, stones, sand, and water.
- You need to put in the big rocks first. Think of those as the must do things that you can’t change, and that generally take up a lot of time. Things like classes, your part-time job, volunteer commitments, etc.
- Then you’ll move to the smaller stones. Those would be things like workouts and study time that can fit in around those rocks.
- Next you’ll move to the sand. These are things that are really easy to fit in the crevices around the stones. For example, time to hang out with friends, reading/journaling, etc.
- Finally you’ll fill your schedule with the water, these are the things that still need to get done, but can fill those random pockets of space (i.e. errands, planning, laundry, household chores, etc.)
What would happen if you did this in reverse? If you started with the water, your entire jar would be full, before you’d have a chance to fill it with the rocks, stones and sand. If the jar was already full of water, adding the rocks would cause it to overflow. Remember, you always need to need to start with the rocks in your schedule first.
3. If you ever become overwhelmed, think WIN!
What’s Important Now?
There are certainly things that may come up unexpectedly or something that could take longer than planned that even the best schedule cannot predict, and we can become paralyzed by the running list of things in our head that we need to get done.
Instead of trying to DO more, opt to do more of the RIGHT things. Maybe not everything will get done and that’s usually alright if we’re doing the things that are most important in bringing us closer towards our goals.
You’ve heard the expression “time flies” – I hope you choose to be the pilot!
Have questions about how to get it all done, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was written by Vector Marketing Canadian National Recruiting Manager, Sherri Dickie. Vector Marketing is a DECA National Advisory Board partner and Corporate Social Media Correspondent. You can follow Vector Marketing on Twitter @VectorMarketing.