Time Management is something we all do as individuals on a daily basis to a certain level, at some point in our lives, even without realizing it. Getting out of bed in the morning, eating, going off to primary school, tertiary education, work, hobbies or sport etc., all require a certain timeframe.
I initially thought my time management skills were reasonably good, but it didn’t take me long to discover what I thought was time management, was only the tip of the iceberg. For me personally, time management is a skill that I have had to learn and still am learning (with the help of the tutorials that have been on offer at Polytech, Elluminate sessions incorporating resource material supplied by David McQuillan and MindTools (1995-2009)). By no means has it come naturally. When I first started the course in Massage Therapy I had no idea of the intensity or balance that was going to be required of me. I don’t really know what I expected, but it certainly has not been to the degree that has unfolded.
Finding the right balance in my life and balancing my study with the busy demands of a young family and my own personal needs has been challenging, to say the least. There is just not enough time in the day! But I am also very aware of over-committing myself. Being the practical person that I am, ideally I would prefer to devote a lot more time to practical massage, which I am only managing to squeeze in here and there. My family is also very important to me, they too have had to make sacrifices due to my new “study” life. Hence, I am mindful of not spending enough quality time with my family (tears coming to my eyes). Stress has not only put a strain on me but my family as a whole. Therefore, time management is something that I am continuously working hard at. I have a daily, weekly and year planner that I am constantly referring to. I am genuinely pretty good at sticking to my daily planner, but it is not always set in concrete. Due to sickness or other matters arising there is a definite need for flexibility.
My daily routine starts at the breakfast table when I consult my schedule to see what muscle I need to learn for the day. Once the boys are at school I try to be seated at my desk by 9am, as if I was in a virtual classroom, ready to start the next assignment on my daily planner (which I have prioritized and incorporated variety). As I have structured my study between the hours of 9am to 3pm I need to be self disciplined. There are times outside of these hours, for instance when I am preparing dinner, for revision of anatomy from the day. I also study at nights or weekends to catch up on or complete a task that has taken me a lot longer than I had anticipated. A “to do list” has also helped me as I have got so much going on in my head that I am forgetting about other commitments outside of my study, which I normally would have remembered.
One of my weaknesses, at present, is procrastination. It is easy to keep putting my study off by doing something else that is more enjoyable/easy. If someone had of said to me 3 months ago that I would be able to write a 1000 word essay I would have laughed and replied “ARE YOU SERIOUS???!!!”. This also comes down to self confidence and belief. Although, once I get started on my study I sometimes find it hard to stop.
This course has been a radical change in my career/life. I understand and know that it is going to take time and patience to develop good study habits. “Investing in time management activities will actually save you time, helping you work smarter, not harder…” (MindTools, 1995-2009). My self-discipline and motivation, together with my time management, is what is going to help me achieve my Diploma. By next term I am anticipating that I will be working a lot “smarter”. This will prepare me even more for the year ahead..
MindTools. (1995-2009). Time Management. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/main/newMN_HTE.htm