This is a really weird post for me to write and honestly I’ve been avoiding it for ages. Because I genuinely believe I haven’t got this right yet. That and boasting isn’t my thing but I figured if it helps others, then that has greater benefit so evidently, I’m doing so anyway. The topic of interest: time-management. If you get the Bernard’s watch reference, I’m proud.
Constantly I get asked ‘Mashuda how do you balance so many things?’ In a short answer, I don’t. Legit, I can come so close to burning out and my organisation skills are questionable for the most part. A small look in my backpack would be evidence enough. But my real motivation for anything is knowing that I have to be accountable for my time, so somehow, I keep going.
Honestly, there is no real or one way to balance your time. It’s incredibly individual with what you fill your day with. But there are quite a few things I’ve learnt and since I’ve been told I should start doing lists, here’s a list of my tips:
1. Before you start something new, figure out if it’s going to be of value to you. Is it going to help you develop? Is it to help you finance yourself? What’s the aim? Because if you know why you are doing something, it becomes a lot easier to continue the process. Don’t start something you know you’ll dislike because one, you’ll waste your time and two, you’ll waste your time.
2. Get a diary. Legit. Not the ‘dear diary type.’ I’m talking a planner/academic diary. There are more minutes in a day than we give credit to and a lot of the time we waste them. Once you start keeping account of how you are spending your days and weeks, you’ll realise you have time to do other things. On the flip side, you may notice you do too much and will have to learn to cut down.
3. Give everything you are doing it’s due right. This is where I have failed in the past. If you have committed yourself to doing something, do your job and do it well, but also don’t do so much of it that it eventually becomes a burden or you start neglecting your other responsibilities.
4. Get help where you need it. Sometimes we like to think that doing everything independently is the way forward but honestly, where you can work as a team or where you can be assisted – take it. There’s nothing wrong with that. A group achievement is still an achievement.
5. Utilise the morning hours. In Islam, we are taught that morning hours are full of barakah (blessings). I can hands-down say so myself that I can get more done from 6am to 12pm then I get done in a normal day. My brain functioning severely slows as the day progresses. Whether thats psychological, genetical, mythical, I don’t know. But morning time works for me so I’d suggest you to try it.
6. Sleep. I haven’t perfected this one either. Mildly an unofficial insomniac. But you need sleep. Don’t exhaust yourself. One of the best things I think I’ve ever tried is even if I have very little chance of sleep – I sleep according to my sleep cycle. You know them days you wake up feeling like someone wacked your head with a hammer, that’s because you’ve woken from deep sleep. Instead, try waking up when your sleep cycle ends. That way it ends with you waking up like them peeps in a mattress advert. A sleep cycle passes every 1.5 hours. So set your alarm 1.5, 3, 4.5, 6 etc hours later. If you’re sleeping 20 or 40 minutes, that works too, but that’s a nap. Don’t fool yourself kid.
7. Relax. Every now and then take time out. Renew your intentions and figure out your motivations. Don’t forget why you are doing what you are doing. And between that, give yourself a break.
8. Surround yourself by the right people. Bit of a weird one. But believe me, everything becomes 10 times easier when surrounded by people who help you become a better you and support you in what you do. Probably the main reason as to why I can continue doing a lot.
9. Know your limits. Don’t overdo it. You’re better off doing a few things right then lots of things half-heartedly.
10. Prioritise. This is pretty self-explanatory. Some things will need your immediate attention and others not so much. Again it comes back to figuring out what is important and what can be left on the backburner for now. It’s all about smart management.
I’m not 100% satisfied with this list. But I guess I will edit as time passes. I didn’t include things like phones/gadgets because I reckon that falls more under studying tips which I guess I’ll do another time if I have the energy.
See, I like to think that I live by a philosophy that the things you do in life doesn’t have to be boxes. You don’t have to succeed in one and then move onto the next. Time does not have to be a factor for limiting what can be done. There is always a way to make a change and make a difference, there is always a way to beat the odds and there is always a way to also live your life. No one said those paths have to be separate though. How much you do is completely up to you.
(P.S. If you have any time management tips, feel free to comment them. K thanks byeeee.)