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The Ultimate Guide to Time Management and Yourself

Brian Huynh Votes by Nick Kendall, Luca Amadori, Dgrdgd Dgrdgd, and 332 more.

Have you ever encountered outrageously busy people that seem to have the superpower to do everything? For an adult, that would be that person you have met that has multiple jobs, a family, and weekend activities. For a student, that would be that person you have met that has multiple AP classes, stellar grades, community service, sports, clubs, and a social life. Although these individuals have impossibly busy schedules, they are healthy, happy, and energetic! How do they do it? Throughout this manual, I will explain how to optimize time, but also to optimize your life.

Motivation

Here is a comical venn diagram of what time management looks like for a busy student. Normal people can only choose two circles. Time Gods can choose all three, hence their special title in the center of the diagram: Defies Laws of Physics. For Time Gods, time management is mastered through mastering four key elements: motivation, sleep, discipline, and nutrition/exercise. But before we delve into the other pillars of time management, lets focus on the most important aspect: motivation. Without motivation, you would have no desire to master sleep, discipline, nutrition/exercise or even time from the beginning. Motivation is the most important element of time management because it reinforces time managements subcategories. What is motivation anyway? You cant touch it, smell it, see it, taste it, or even hear it. But you can definitely feel it though. According to the dictionary, motivation is defined as the act or an instance of motivating or providing with a reason to act in a certain way. Finding reason in what you do, whether that is chemistry homework, a video project, or a book report, will cause you to work longer and more effectively, thus, taking less breaks and saving time. Your motivation could be to get stellar grades, to please parents expectations, or simply because you intrinsically enjoy your work. But what if you do not have a definite motivation? Find it. In order to find your motivation, you should have some time alone to introspect on your characteracteristics. You need to find your motivation whether that may be to get good grades, to please ones parents, to please ones self, to earn a high paycheck, or whatever other means of motivation.

With motivation comes confidence. You must be confident in yourself and also in your short term and long term goals. Have the confidence to complete short term goals, such as finishing an English essay, as well as long term goals such as saving enough money to buy a car. Confidence allows Time Gods to dedicate themselves to a goal without wasting time by squandering over their insecurities. For example, if the student, Bobby, does not have sufficient confidence, he will take a long time to complete his english essay as well as to save enough money for a car because the lack of confidence generates self-doubt. This self-doubt causes Bobby to have a psychological tug-o-war, constantly causing him to meander towards and away from his goals, wasting time in the process. But where can you find confidence? Two places: in yourself self or in others. In order to discover confidence in yourself, you must embark on an existentialist journey. To find confidence, you must take pride in your accomplishments and mitigate you failures. Again, this is where you must spend some time alone to introspect yourself. In addition to introspection, you can associate with confident people in order to learn where the confidence in other stems from and how their confidence can foster your confidence.

Although confidence is critical for accomplishing tasks, Time Gods know how to avoid blinding confidence. In the previous example, Bobbys lack of confidence prevented him from accomplishing his tasks in a time-efficient manner. Lets assume that after awhile, Bobby learns how to be confident -- a little too confident, in fact. Bobby knows that he procrastinates, is easily distracted, and often multitasks when he does homework. Because of Bobbys new found confidence, he considers taking four AP classes, working at two community service centers, and participating in three clubs in his junior year of high school. Should he pursue this rigorous schedule? Of course not. Even though Bobbys confidence allows him to finish tasks more efficiently, his undisciplined work ethics inhibit him from pursuing this rigorous schedule. Bobby can learn about his Work Load Limit by incrementally adding rigorous activities to his schedule. For Bobby, jumping from one AP class in his sophomore year to four AP classes plus numerous extracurricular activities in his junior year will be a psychological and physical ordeal if he does not prepare. But if Bobby transitioned from two AP classes in his sophomore year to four AP classes in his junior year with limited extracurricular activities, then he should be able to adapt to the new schedule because he incrementally added rigor to his schedule. In order to avert mental breakdowns from being overworked, have a realistic sense of confidence when determining your Work Load Limit. Although money, grades, and respect from others are all forms of motivation, passion is the best form of motivation. Passion is an intrinsic, perpetual motivator while money, grades, and respect from others are all extrinsic, finite motivators. If you can find your passions, you can stay forever motivated. And being passionate allows you to endure hours of work without stress or exhaustion. When Bill Gates found his passion for programming, he programmed from sunrise to sunset. It was not grades, money, or the respect from others that motivated him, it was purely his love for programming. While other might consider programming as work, Bill Gates recognized programming as fun because of passion. Passion has the special ability to convert work to fun. In doing so, you do not need to allocate time specifically for fun because you see your work, to an extent, as fun. For Bill Gates, programming is his work and fun. For you, chemistry work, video projects, or essays may be feel like work and fun.

Additional Content: 1. The Surprising Truth About What Motivations Us: 2. The Puzzle of Motivation: 3. Why We Do What We Do: 4. What Makes Life Worthwhile:

Nutrition and Exercise


If motivation is the psychological fuel, then nutrition and exercise are the physical fuel that powers Time Gods. We hear it all the time from doctors and parents: eat healthy and exercise! Besides benefiting our health, healthy nutrition and exercise provides and regulates the energy needed for time management.

The chart above illustrates the difference between foods high in starch and foods high in sucrose. Sucrose is the scientific name for a type of simple sugar, also

known as table sugar. Since its molecular structure is less complex than the starch in bread, foods high in sugar are metabolized faster and release quick bursts of energy accompanied by energy crashes. Time Gods usually eat foods high in complex carbs to maintain a gradual release of energy. By eating foods high in starch (complex carbs), Time Gods do not frequently experience periods of high and low energy throughout the day. Having a consistent energy output allows Time Gods to work quickly with more focus with less drowsiness, thus, saving time.

By eating healthy, you will provide your body and mind with the proper energy and nutrition to work longer and faster. Healthy eating habits along with exercise will also prevent you from getting sick so you save time by not missing days at work or at school. Here are some key vitamins and their benefits: Vitamin A maintains vision, resistance to infections, assists, immune reaction, supports bodily growth and repair milk, eggs, meat, fish oils, green leafy vegetables, carrots, yellow vegetables, yellow and orange fruits Key: [Vitamin] [Benefit] [Source] Vitamin D good for bones sunlight, dairy, fish oils Vitamin E fat-soluble antioxidant, good for the skin plant oils, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds Vitamin B1 Helps metabolize carbs, maintains appetite and normal digestion, supports normal appetite and nervous system function whole grain cereals, beans, nuts, pork, ham Vitamin B2 part of coenzymes used in energy metabolism, supports normal vision and skin health milk, yogurt, dairy, meat, leafy greens, whole grains Vitamin B3 part of coenzyme used in energy metabolism, supports health of skin, nervous, and digestive system

tuna, dairy, meat, whole grains, nuts, protein-containing foods Vitamin B5 part of coenzyme A, which is used in energy metabolism widespread in foods Vitamin B6 part of coenzyme that helps the body synthesize nonessential amino acids green leafy vegetables, meats, whole grains Vitamin B12 helps to maintain nerve cells meat, dairy Vitamin C strengthens blood vessels, forms scar tissue, is a matrix for bone growth, an antioxidant, strengthens resistance to infections, improves the absorption of iron fruits (esp. citrus) and vegetables

Sleep
Another physical fuel that Time Gods manage when managing time is sleep. Similarly to nutrition, sleep is also the food of the mind and body. We obviously sleep to regain our energy, to subconsciously reorganize our thoughts, and to recuperate our mind and body after a long day. But how to you exactly manage it and how much sleep do you actually need? While doctors and websites say that you typically need eight hours of sleep, that number is just the average. Some people require less than average while others need more to function optimally. For me, I usually need only 6-7 hours of sleep on a typical school week. You can discover your sleep threshold by correlating the hours of sleep you get to how tired you feel. This can be done mentally or through writing. Keeping a journal that correlates sleep-hours to states of tiredness will help you gauge your sleep threshold. To manage sleep, you must maintain a consistent sleep schedule. For a typical

busy high school student, they might go to sleep at 11pm on Monday, then at 3am on Wednesday, and then at 5am on a Saturday. The student may stay up late on weekdays because of homework or distractions. On weekends, the student may stay up because of fun. Whatever the reason, you should keep your sleep schedule consistent, even on weekends, within plus or minus two hours. For example, if you usually sleep at 12am, it is okay to occasionally sleep at 2am if you have too much work to do. But if you need to stay up past 2am, you need to account for sleep debt. Sleep debt is defined as the accumulated sleep that is lost to poor sleep habits, sickness, awakenings due to environmental factors or other causes. Think of sleep as the money that you consistently pay someone. Lets say that the Time God, Charles, has to pay the bank at least six dollars a day, everyday. On Monday and Tuesday, Charles pays six dollars. But on Thursday, Charles pays the bank four dollars because he is too busy with other duties. He then owes the bank two dollars. So on Saturday, Charles must work overtime and pay eight dollars to the bank on that day to compensate for the two dollars missing on Thursday. Similarly to daily payments to a bank, sleep is a daily payment to your health. Just like money, you can compensate for sleep debt by sleeping more on the weekends. So those two hours of sleep you lost on Thursday can be compensated by sleeping in for eight hours on Saturday. But in order to reinforce the management of sleep debt and sleep schedules, you must learn how to fall asleep quickly and how to wake up quickly. It usually takes the body 15-20 minutes for the body to fall asleep. Here are a few tips to quicken the process: establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends relax your mind before you sleep have a dark, quiet, comfortable, and cool environment when you sleep finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime exercise regularly avoid caffeine and alcohol products relieve the tension in your jaw and shoulder muscles by massaging them install daylight-colored bulbs in your room and use an outlet timer to set your lamp to turn on when your alarm goes off Scenario 1 Once in awhile, you might have to stay up to 4am or 5am which only allows you to have two hours of sleep. Should you sleep for two hours or power through the night without sleep? You should power through the night without sleep because sleeping for two hours will make you feel more tired than staying up continuously. Scenario 2 You just got home from a tiring day at school and you want to take a nap. Should you do it? Taking naps for thirty minutes of less has proven to make people feel more energized and alert. Napping for more than thirty minutes, however, leaves you groggy and irritable.

Even after learning all these sleep management techniques, you might wonder what are some of the consequences of chronic sleep deprivation. Without proper sleep, the human body will experience physiological and cognitive damage. Physiologically, the lack of sleep -- especially on a regular basis -- is associated with long-term health consequences, including chronic medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, and that these conditions may lead to a shortened life expectancy. Mood disorders, obesity, hypertension, and compromised immune systems have all been linked to chronic sleep deprivation. At a cognitive level, chronic sleep deprivation adversely affects the learning process by preventing the brain from forming new, long-term memories. Lets say that the student named William did not do any of the homework for chapter nine in his geometry class. William study-crams the night before his chapter nine test and does not sleep. He scored a 95%. But when Finals comes along several months after the chapter nine test, William cannot remember anything from his previous exam. But William aced his previous exam, so how can he possibly forget what he learned? William used his short term memory to ace the chapter nine exam instead of his long-term memory. So by the time Finals came along several months later, William has forgotten everything because his sleep deprivation prevented him from forming long-term memories. In the the process of learning, sleep deprivation can cause our focus, attention, and vigilance [to] drift, making it more difficult to receive information. Without adequate sleep and rest, overworked neurons can no longer function to coordinate information properly, and we lose our ability to access previously learned information. If you want to score higher on exams and live a healthier life, do yourself a favor and get adequate amounts of sleep. For Time Gods in high school, their adequate amounts of sleep allow them to learn quickly. A typical, sleep deprived math student may have to do numerous practice problems and use flashcards just to remember a math formula. But for a well-rested Time God, it only takes a glance and a few practice problems to memorize a math equation. By increasing learning efficiency through adequate amounts of sleep, Time Gods spend less time fortifying information into their long-term memories. So the next time you stay up late for

whatever reason, consider how you are neglecting your health and be sure to compensate the hours of sleep you lost.

Discipline

The Rules of Time Management: 1. DO NOT Procrastinate

Procrastination, or doing things at the last minute, is the nemesis of Time Gods. Sure, it feels great to have fun instead of doing that homework assignment; but cramming the assignment at the last minute is an inefficient use of time and energy. We procrastinate because we want to feel rewarded immediately. Sadly, it is in our biology to procrastinate. The feeling of instant gratification after completing work just before the due date perpetually fuels procrastination. My advice: find pleasure in completing work ahead of time. Take a moment to recall the worst procrastination experience you ever had. Now let that painful memory burn into your mind. Then recall a moment where you completed a big project well before the due date. Savor that memory and all the stressless free time you had when you did not procrastinate and allow it to motivate you to not procrastinate in the future. When you see others procrastinate, take pride in yourself and thankfully realize that you are not in that mob of procrastinators. 2. Eliminate Distractions If you really want to be productive, disconnect yourself from the internet, games, and the tv and focus on your work. Play can wait, but work cannot. 3. DO NOT Multitask Would you use a straw to eat a bowl of pasta? Of course not. A straw is not design to pick up noodles effectively. The same goes for the human brain: it is not designed to multitask effectively. Focus on one task at a time. So instead of chatting with friends on Facebook, listening to music, and doing chemistry homework all at the same time, focus only on one thing at a time -- preferably the chemistry homework. Play can wait, but work cannot. 4. Write Down Your Thoughts It takes time and energy to remember and retrieve information from your brain. Limit the retrieval process by writing down your plans, thoughts, feelings, ideas, and goals. You should focus your energy on creating new ideas, plans, and goals instead of wasting your time and energy trying to remember old ones. Writing down your thoughts also relieves stress and raises workload tolerance -- another key element for a Time God. 5. Set Deadlines and Take Initiative A goal is a dream with a deadline. Have any plans or ideas? Set a due date for them to ensure that you carry through with your actions. 6. Be Persistent and Dedicated Pain is weakness leaving the body -Marine Corps. Traverse the psychological and physical pain of a rigorous schedule in order to master time. Motivate yourself to be persistent and dedicated. Imagine the feeling of accomplishing your goal and savor that feeling. 7. DO NOT Be Lazy Being a Time God is like running a race: you must maintain your pace. Got extra time? Develop a new skill or find a new hobby. Whether that be cooking, sewing, running, biking, or art, do something fun and, most importantly, productive. Do not sit around too long watching TV shows or facebooking because Time Gods know that once they lose their pace at time management, it is difficult to regain the momentum. 8. Learn How to Say No Have friends that constantly ask you favors? Have too many club obligations? Got too many activities? Just say No. Time Gods know that unexpected favors from friends, clubs, or even family members will disrupt the delicate art of Time Management. Prioritize your work and activities and know which ones to quit when

you schedule is overloaded. Even Time Gods have their limits.

As a former studious high school junior, most of the information in this guide is based from experience and online research. As a disclaimer, the information presented above should be solely interpreted as advice. The techniques and observations listed above reflect what I found to be most effective for time management. But I am sure that there are other techniques that I am not aware of yet that was not included in this guide. With motivation as the foundation for nutrition/exercise management, sleep management, and discipline, becoming a Time God is possible. I hope this guide helps you manage time more effectively whether you are a student or even a working adult. Good Luck!