It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you’ve taken on too many tasks. Although
the internet promised us far more “free time" to enjoy life, most people now realize
this is not the case. Being constantly rushed can lead to increased stress, which is unhealthy and frustrating.
Time management expert and author, Alan Lakein, said, ”Time is life; therefore, waste
your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.” Similarly, I would
like to add, ”Control your time and control your life.” Taking control of your time begins
with effective time management. Ultimately, time management becomes your plan to get
everything done and still have precious “free time" to do with what you please. It is possible to use your martial arts training to provide some of the tools you will need along the way!
The first step in taking control of your time is to recognize that there are two main categories of activities on which your time can be spent. The first is business, which is your job or school if you are a student. If you are a homemaker,then that is your business. The second category is personal, which is everything else. Each of these categories can have many subcategories as we will discuss in step four. The second step is to allocate a block of time for business and a block of time for personal use. While training for the Olympics and trying to run a successful Martial arts Studio, Master Kang once told me to forget about “24 hours in a day” and focus on the bigger picture, consider a week. Interesting, I thought, there are 168 hours in a week! How much time do you want to devote to business time? If you work for someone else, your answer may be totally or partially pre-determined.
Regardless, you should factor in all activities related to work, such as your commuting time, homework, etc. Then consider the rest of the time as personal time like sleep, grooming, exercise, eating, household chores, personal relationships and recreation.
The third step is to develop a plan or schedule of when you are going to be doing what you do. For example, if you allocate 60 weekly hours for business, then you should determine when those 60 hours will take place. Your schedule may fluctuate from week to week but you need to deploy a plan of when you will be spending your 60 hours for business. Do the same for personal time and you’ll be surprised at how much “free”time is available
The fourth step is to make a list of all the tasks you are responsible to complete. Label each task as high, medium or low priority. For your personal time management plan, sleeping, eating and grooming should be obvious necessities and you should give yourself adequate time to complete them. But how many times have you pulled an “all-nighter,”skipped a shower or grabbed junk food because you had to meet an important deadline? An effective time management plan can help you avoid these periods of chaos.
In business, accomplishing high-priority tasks is essential to success.Fill your schedule with high priority tasks first, giving them the bulk of your attention. Then add medium-priority tasks with a medium amount of time followed by low-priority tasks with a low
amount of your time. If possible, delegate as many low priority tasks as possible and some of your medium priority tasks so that you can focus on those of high priority.
According to Gregory P. Smith’s article, Are You Managing Time or is Time Managing You? “A person who refuses to delegate will very likely be a very busy and frustrated person”. Learn to "let go". As you are probably discovering, developing an effective time management plan takes time. You must view this as an investment that will yield many more hours of "free time" to do the things you previously did not have time to do.
Effective planning is a skill that requires time to learn, to implement and to refine. Be careful not to fall into the trap of formulating a time management plan and thinking you are done. The hardest part is administering your plan and making necessary changes during your learning process. Martial arts training is a valuable tool that can help you manage your time more efficiently. For starters, the martial arts helps reduce stress and enhances your ability to be patient. Patience is a key attribute of a good time manager.
Martial arts is part of your personal time. It provides you with a routine of needed exercise
and builds the discipline to focus on high-priority tasks. A common pitfall that some people encounter during periods of work overload is that they focus on easy, less important, quickly completed tasks in an attempt to feel self-esteem. For example, a manager may clean his or her desk rather than working on a difficult budget proposal due tomorrow. The discipline of the martial arts enables you to focus on high-priority tasks and to get them completed.
A common myth of time management is that “There’s too much to do; I can’t handle it all.”
In reality, there are people who have many more priorities than you have and who are getting them all done. These people have mastered time management and understand the benefits and value of delegation. If you recognize that there are other people out there with more “to do” than you, and that they are completing their high-priority tasks, you can be confident that you, too, can create a time management plan that
works for you. So start today and make a plan to organize your time. Write it down, implement it and analyze it until it works. Don’t forget to make time for your martial arts training so that you can attain many of your highest personal priorities—self-defense knowledge, better health and fitness, self-confidence and a black belt!