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Time Management: Putting Time on Your Side

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Derrick Smith

English 373

December 6, 2004

Project 4: Research Based Service-Learning Project

Time Management: Putting Time on Your Side

Time is life. It is irreversible and irreplaceable. To waste one's time is to waste one's life, but mastery of time usage is mastery of life and making the most of it. Einstein once said, "There is no absolute relation in time between two events, but there is an absolute relation between space and time" (Sharp 1). Time is a mystery. It cannot be tied down by definition or confined inside a formula. Like gravity, it is a phenomenon that we can experience but cannot understand. We are aware of the ageing of our bodies, of the effects of the movements of our planet, and of the ticking of the clock. We learn a little about what we call the past and we know that change is built into our lives. But neither philosophers nor scientists have been able to analyze and explain all of the meaning of time. Not only have they failed to provide easy explanations, but their efforts sometimes seem to have made mystery more mysterious and to have shown us that our lack of understanding was even greater than we supposed.

Some philosophers argue that the passage of time is an important metaphysical fact, but one that can only be grasped by non-rational intuition. Others tell us that the flow of time is an illusion and that the future can no more be changed than the past. Some believe that future events come into existence as the present; the future becomes the actual "moment-in-being."

When spending money, one presumably tries to balance their expenditures in such a way as to obtain the best possible yield. This means that one will probably refrain from spending all of their assets on a single commodity. Instead, one will distribute their expenditure over a variety of different goods and services. The optimum situation will have been reached when it is impossible to increase satisfaction by reducing expenditure in one field and making a corresponding increase in another. A more technical description of this condition of equilibrium would be to say that the marginal utility of one dollar must be the same in all different sectors of expenditures.

In the same manner, one tries to economize with their time resources. They must be so distributed as to give an equal yield in all sects of use. Otherwise, it would pay to transfer time from an activity with a low yield to one with a high yield and to continue to do this until equilibrium has been achieved. But in reality, neither concentrating all of one's time and efforts to one activity alone, nor spreading one's time equally across activities of unequal importance are good methods of managing time.

Time is a scarce resource, although in a rather special way. The amount of iron-ore in the world is fixed. When it has all been converted into iron and steel, we must then rely on recycling or find other metals as an alternative. Time is inexhaustible, and there are three time related constraints that prohibit us as humans from doing everything we want. We do not live forever, know not how much time we have left, and cannot use the same sect of time to carry out multiple activities. With the assistance of technology and the somewhat modern philosophy of multi-tasking, we are able to accomplish more than ever. Nonetheless, no one can be in two places at once.

"Ð''I feel like I waste so much of my time doing things that are not really important to me, while my life is slipping away,' or, Ð''I have so much to do; there's just not enough time for me to do it all,' and even, Ð''I'm harassed, overworked, tired, and tense. I seem to be forever pushing myself, and can't ever relax completely' are usually the last words you hear people with time management problems say before they reach their breaking point'" (Lakien 25).

There is no such thing as a lack of time. Everyone has twenty-four hours each day to do what you want or need to do. Some people may think that they are too busy, but there is always someone who is "busier" and is still able to keep their respective tasks-at-hand under control. It is not because some people have more time than others, but because they use their time to better advantage.

Time management is an idea that has benefits for everyone, no matter what their age or job-title may be. When one manages their time wisely they are in control of their time and their life. Controlling time begins with planning. Planning is the process by which one coalesces tasks into a logical pattern. Many people feel that a plan does nothing but fence them in, but a plan can actually be a roadmap to freedom. No matter how busy one may seem to be, there should always be time set aside to schedule their daily events. The less time there is to spare, the more important it is to plan one's time carefully. Even if ten minutes is spent at the start or end of the day, the repayment of making a schedule will be many times over. Writing down daily plans helps you free your mind of clutter, and it can help one's concentration for what is currently taking place. Also, seeing your plans written down on paper acts a good reminder of what is ahead.

Effective time use is a skill that can be acquired. Effectiveness should take precedence over efficiency. Pertaining to time management, effectiveness means selecting the best or most important task from all the possibilities available, and then doing it to the best of one's ability. Making the right choices about how to use time is more important than doing efficiently whatever job seems to be the easiest. Working smarter, not harder, will help keep priorities in line, and it will make life easier. Efficiency is not nearly important as effectivenessÐ'--the ultimate goal of time management.

However, efficiency should not be a concept of managing time that is completely forgotten. After making a prioritized schedule, it is important to get as many of one's top goals completed as possible, and perhaps as soon as possible, too. Efficiently accomplishing goals will make plenty of time to spare for relaxation and recreation. Having free time will make life more enjoyable and will keep a busy person at a relatively constant level of sanity.

When scheduling daily plans, it is important to remember that there are several key aspects of time management that will help operations run more smoothly. First, do not construct a cluttered schedule. Having frivolous activities that can easily be remembered, or activities that are not important enough to make a day's

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