By: Lynn Reutens '24
The words “time management” steadily creep up on us — especially in our college years — just to remind us to get our acts together or everything may just swirl out of control. The truth is we do forget, we do miss appointments and we do overlook our schedules, under-prioritizing things. However, at the end of the day, it really does not matter how we remind ourselves to focus on things but that we get to manage our time well for our own day.
I am pursuing my studies toward the healthcare field with a minor in writing. But, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine holding a busy, full schedule every day like I do today. I’ll secretly tell you that when I was handed my schedule, a little knot sprouted in my stomach like a young beansprout. It was a happy one though, but I did go over to a vending machine to buy a bottle of cold water. I took a deep breath and I decided to focus on what matters to me.
Focus will help us to function better on our own terms so that we are able to meet our deadlines, attend events, hand in assignments, and do the best that we can without being overloaded and all stressed out. As author Jack Kornfield expressively said, “The trouble is, you think you have time.”
Once I aligned my focus, I had to face my ambitions that if I did not adopt a decision-making process to help structure, assist, and move me, I just would not be moving in the direction that I wanted to go. Being true to myself and my goals allowed me to plan, allowed me to prioritize but also allowed me to give myself time to sit back and relax too.
I know that there are plenty of books, articles, and technology apps to help us manage our days, but the way I see it is although all these provisions can tell us how to think purposefully, focus sharply and why of course to tell us to download the apps, at the end of the day it is us — yes, you and I — who must physically type in what we have to do, when we have to do it, and maybe why we must do it. If we don’t help ourselves with uprightness, time management will not happen.
My grandparents lived in seven different decades and never owned a mobile device or a computer. I want to know how they pulled off managing their time. People back then still turned up for dinners, went to meetings, remembered their hospital appointments, memorized everyone’s birthdays and they did not have an Outlook calendar prompting them about the Jones’ barbeque next week! I guess their outstanding time management wisdom will always remain a mystery to me, so I must sing praises of respect for all of them because they had a unique way of leading their lives, their way.
The reality is that we have become so very dependent on reminder tools that we now even jot down family reunions, birthdays, lunch dates, and even casual dinners with family just to make sure we don’t forget, that we can plan and prioritize, and that we know we have it under control. At the end of the day, it is really all about setting a good balance between university life, family, and employment.
Krissy Tarter ’22, who is pursuing a double major in biochemistry and Spanish with a minor in physics told me, “I like to create a to-do list each night so that I feel prepared for the next day as I strive to find a balance between my classes, running, work, volunteering, and attending various student organization events.”
"It’s just as important to take a step back and relax when I can so I can continue to feel motivated and excited about the things that fill my day,” Tarter also admitted.
Adopting time management is essential for us to strive in this busy, knotty, and fast-moving world. Let’s just accept the fact that today our daily lives are filled up with far more extracurricular activities than 50 years ago, and this has placed an enormous amount of stress on our shoulders. So, it is not surprising that we have become dependent on adopting structured time management into our lives. So, before I end here, I must say a big thank you to the creators of these reminder apps, online calendars, and diaries because they have saved my educational life and I will always remember my friends’ birthdays!