According to Misra and McKean, stress among college students is directly related to the time management behaviors their exhibit – if they have a system with which they set, prioritize, achieve and track their goal in accordance to importance and urgency, they organize their time better and the stress levels among them become minimized (Misra Ranjita 2000). Based on that finding and the fact that I want to bring change to my life by being more organized, aim to avoid tardiness in my college work, my duties as a parent and to minimize the time I spend in procrastination, I start this paper to take the needed steps to do so. I start with a current activity report with analysis, then I will make suggestions and perform a cost-benefit analysis to estimate the effect of the changes that I am planning to implement. In the end, I conclude the findings that have been made.
Whenever I start to think about the way I spend my time, I know that it is not most efficient. There are several indicators that speak for that in each aspect of my life: I always hand in school work late, I drive my child to school too late, most of time that I am at home, I am not doing anything that has purpose or provides me with anything that enriches. That could be seen most easiy by the activity report for my previous work-week:
|7-8 a.m.||Get son ready for school||Get son ready for school||Get son ready for school||Get son ready for school||Get son ready for school||Sleep in||Prepare for school|
|8-9 a.m.||Get son ready and take him to school||Get son ready and take him to school||Get son ready and take him to school||Get son ready and take him to school||Get son ready and take him to school||Sleep in||Prepare for school|
|9-10 a.m.||At home||At home||At home doing nothing||At home doing nothing||On computer||Prepare breakfast for son||Running errands|
|10-11 a.m.||On computer||Running errands||At home doing nothing||At home doing nothing||On computer||Play with son||Running errands|
|On computer||Running errands||On computer||On computer||On computer||Play with son||Running errands|
|Getting ready for work||Running errands||Parent-teacher conference||Getting ready for work||Getting ready for work||Lunch with grandparents||Running errands|
|1-2 p.m.||On the way to work||Running errands||Drive back||Leave for work||Leave for work||Lunch with grandparents||Running errands|
|2-3 p.m.||Work||Running errands||Drive back||Arrive at work||Arrive at work||Mall with son||Running errands|
|3-4 p.m.||Work||Running errands||Watch news||Work||Work||Mall with son||Running errands|
|4-5 p.m.||Work||Arrive at home||Wash car||Work||Work||Mall with son||Running errands|
|5-6 p.m.||Work||Pick son up from school||Pick up son from school||Work||Work||Driving back||Running errands|
|6-7 p.m.||Work||Play with son||Watch news||Work||Work||Dinner||Running errands|
|Evening (after 7 p.m)||Work||Work on school work||Watch news and TV shows||Work||Work||Movies||At Home|
Looking at my activity report, it is evident that my claim in the beginning of the paper is true – I am disorganized, spend too much time on aimless activities. For the sake of change implementation, I will take as an example Wednesday, December 14, 2011. The first thing that I would like to do is allocate on the activities on the so called “Eisenhower box” that has been popularized by Stephen R. Covey in his famous book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Covey, 1989). The methodology of the matrix is rather simple and very practical: the tasks are organized in a two by two quadrant matrix – important/ unimportant and urgent/not urgent. The aim is to drop the unimportant/ not urgent tasks, to complete immediately and personally the important/ urgent tasks, to delegate the unimportant/ urgent tasks (not really applicable by me as I am on my own) and to complete personally the important/ not urgent tasks in a later time.
To aid my judgement, I will relate my tasks to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, which categorizes the different degrees of needs, exhibited by human beings (Maslow, 1943):
- Getting son ready for school and taking him to school – urgent/ important, physiological need – cannot be done without it
- At home doing nothing – not urgent/ not important, esteem need; however, it must be noted that this need is present due to a lack of motivation
- On computer – urgent/ not important, safety need; it is needed, so that I can get prepared for the rest of daily activities
- Driving to teacher conference – urgent/ important, safety need; it is mandatory that I am present at this conference
- Driving from teacher conference – urgent/ important, physiological need
- Wash car – urgent/ important, esteem need; I need to have a clean car to be taken seriously
- Pick up son from school – urgent/ important, physiological need
- Watch news and TV – not urgent/ not important, esteem need
What is easily evident from this analysis is that there is only one task that has a self-actualization (highest in Maslow’s hierarchy) need in my daily task list (At home doing nothing) and it is a reversed need – it is present due to lack of motivation, it should not be there at all. Furthermore, the time is not well organized, because I am spending most of the day driving around – had I went to wash the car right after dropping my son to school, I probably would have been able to work that day. The same holds true for the rest of the days of the week as well. Therefore, the change that should be implemented is to aim at spending time at more enriching and meaningful activities (as on the hierarchy) and cut the time spent in driving around – be more organized.
The cost effectiveness of that would be immediate: the best way to make a cost – benefit analysis is to decide between several options, based on their costs and the benefits they bring (Evaluating Quantitatively Whether to Follow a Course of Action, 2011). In the current case, the cost of keeping the current status, would be retaining a lack of motivation and loosing time. The results are: failing in my college classes, not having time for every day life events, stressing over small things (due to lack of motivation), rushing constantly, stress that leads to arguments. The cost for the implementation of the proposed change would be zero, bu the benefits are very high: getting school work on time, being able to schedule priorities, having time for every day life events.
As conclusion, I will aim to implementing the proposed changes of motivation and prioritization as soon as possible, because it will help me manage my time much better and will increase my motivation.
Evaluating Quantitatively Whether to Follow a Course of Action. (2011). Retrieved December 16, 2011, from Mind Tools: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_08.htm
Kovey, S. R. (1989). The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. FlyHeart.
Maslow, A. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychology Review (50), 370-396.
Misra Ranjita, M. M. (2000). COLLEGE STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC STRESS AND ITS RELATION TO THEIR ANXIETY, TIME MANAGEMENT, AND LEISURE SATISFACTION. American Journal of Health Studies.
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