Articles

Time Management and Organization

by Isha Patkar, Neha Koganti, Rishi Bappanad, and Tejas Deodhar, The GTF Group

Introduction

“The task is due in two days, I’ll do it later”. This is a promise which the majority of people have told themselves at least once in their lifetime. It may seem harmless at the time, especially since the prospect of watching TV seems much more appealing, but this small delay may well lead to a long chain of unproductive habits. Despite this foreboding statement, there are many tips for time management and organization to eliminate any risks of last-minute stress.

Through the past several years, people all around the world have been pushed to their limits with the continuous changes in their lives, this includes the postponing of sporting events, the balance of new jobs, beginning high school through Zoom, and many more. Although numerous aspects of our lives have been altered, there are also several factors that have stayed constant throughout the last couple of unprecedented years. One of these factors which seems to have become more highlighted is the undeniable necessity for time management. While the honed skill of time management is most commonly associated with high school students, it is actually an incredibly valuable and priceless skill for all ages, genders, races, and nationalities. We decided to analyze the history, importance, advantages, and disadvantages, affiliation to the mental health of time management, and share experiences from various high schoolers in order to draw conclusions about this valuable skill.

Time Management: what does it mean?

The definition of time management is self-explanatory: how one manages his/her time.

Today, time management is one of the most important facets of everybody’s lives ranging from students in elementary school to grandparents. Usually, how well someone manages time translates into the ultimate performance. For example, a high schooler with proper time management will be capable of working and getting better grades as well as managing their extracurricular activities. Many people often struggle with time management and subsequently produce a substandard product.

History of time management

The bulk of the history of time management is relatively recent with it being taken very seriously especially in the US during the 18th century Industrial Revolution. People learned how to work and manage their time not based on the sun anymore, but off of a clock for extra punctuality. Before this, most jobs were not as demanding in terms of how quick one should work, but during the industrial revolution, where business was everything, people were required to become more efficient and learn how to work against the clock.

 Frederick Winslow Taylor is considered to be the father of scientific time management. He wrote his book, The Principles of Scientific Management in 1911, which became the launching pad for today’s time management. It started as a quest to increase productivity in manufacturing, focused on the efficiency of individual workers, quickly spread to the office, and eventually encompassed the home environment as well. Taylor sought one very good way to do every job by standardizing work methods and tools in order to increase productivity.

Nowadays, time management has extended to practically everybody primarily because of the fact that the world has gotten a lot busier over the past 2 centuries, leading to a greater need for punctuality, and subsequently, more common uses of time management. Time management today is vital to people’s lives because of how busy the world has gotten over the past years. With the need for everything to be perfectly on time with lessened leniency in the business world, people have been required to manage their time better, not just with work, but with their outside lives as well and overall, a work-life balance. Without proper time management, the productivity of an individual has a tendency to decrease because of a reduced desire to complete a certain task quickly and efficiently.  On the contrary, proper time management and the ability to set up an effective schedule significantly raise productivity due to the increased desire to work quickly and efficiently. This is extremely important to everybody, including students, parents, and grandparents.

Is time management good only for students? How about adults? Housewives? Parents? Grandparents? 

Parents, grandparents, housewives, are you reading this carefully, and listening? Some of you might not like what we are telling you: time management is not just useful for students, but is also very important to each one of you! For each individual in different stages of life, time management is extremely vital.

The workplace is an example of when time management is crucial for success, as it affects performance and efficiency in one’s profession. Considering one spends a significant part of adult life in the workplace, managing one’s lifestyle along with life greatly impacts one’s productivity, happiness, and health. Time management reduces procrastination and results in a positive impact on work output and life, increasing the quality and quantity of work. A well-managed system for discipline in time management could affect promotions, raises, and respect in the workplace as a result.

Aside from the workplace, time management is also fruitful in parenting. Parents have to juggle multiple responsibilities, and time management can be helpful in facilitating managing these responsibilities. Learning to slow down and handle things one at a time helps when deciding how to manage time. Time management helps reduce the stress and pressure that comes when transitioning into parenthood. Time management can also be applied at home, sectioning time for chores, homework, cleaning, and relaxation. Overall, time management is key in anything one does and can help reduce procrastination and stress through a well-thought-out plan.

Grandparents also could also benefit from time management in managing their daily activities, so that their life could become more comfortable.

Advantages and disadvantages of time management

As is with every task or project, one must be fair to review the advantages and disadvantages of any task, or project, this also includes time management.

Time management needs a particular discipline, and not everyone has, or could employ discipline in life. This causes many people to refrain from using it.

Many people tend to focus on the short-term effects of time management, such as missing out on spending time with friends or watching TV. In addition, if people take time management to an extreme level, they could potentially become obsessed with finishing the tasks they planned on time and become restless. Some people also focus too much on the planning component of time management, which results in inactivity; therefore, people should be cautious of how much time they spend planning their tasks each day and focus a little more on enforcing their plans. However, the numerous advantages of time management utterly outweigh the downsides. Time management helps create a well-thought-out path to reach one’s goals, hence ensuring and increasing focus. It also boosts self-confidence, which plays an essential role in life, as well as productivity, a key component to success in any career. In the long-term, time management allows for more time for relaxation and leisurely activities, a part of life that almost everyone looks forward to. Most importantly, time management brings success and therefore overall well-being to one’s life. If used correctly, managing one’s time can alter one’s life and set one on the correct path to accomplishing his/her goals.

Personal experiences

Isha Patkar: To begin, I would like to give some personal experience on this topic. Being a competitive gymnast who has taken high-level classes and balanced many clubs for the majority of my time in school, I have, in a way, been forced to adopt an organized routine with meticulous time management. Every free second, whether it is the time in the car heading to practice, or the thirty minutes right after I return home, is spent with purpose. However, as I have learned recently, this does not necessarily mean doing work at every empty time slot available. Instead, finding a way to incorporate effective work time, planning time, meal times, and unwinding times into my day is just as important as solely completing assignments. The fact is, that when one merely focuses on completing the task in a certain time, the effort is usually minimal resulting in subpar results. This often further discourages the student, teacher, etc. from wanting to do well on the task at hand.

Let us take it one step further. If the results are subpar, there will be negative comments or imperfect grades on that project, this might result in further disappointment, lowering the morale of the student. For this reason, I have adapted a schedule that allows me to complete my work with time remaining, allowing time for planning the next week, while maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. I firmly believe that if one puts his or her mind to properly learning the techniques of time management and organization, the quality of both lives, and work will improve. Firstly, it is important to deduce who is most likely in need of time management and organization techniques guidance. This is a trick question because contrary to popular belief, procrastination and poor organization can affect anyone, from AP and honors students to student-athletes to struggling students. This may seem counterintuitive because if AP and honors students are in such high-level classes, is it not expected for them to have solid time management practices and be very organized? The same goes for student-athletes: if they are constantly running from practice to school to practice, discipline must be a factor to ensure that any tasks are completed. However, after speaking to many people as well as doing some research, I found that these issues affect all groups of people.

The next question is why people procrastinate instead of simply creating a plan and acting on it to finish all work with time to do more pleasing activities. Many people procrastinate and cram hours of work into a few hours due to many factors such as fear of failure, anxiety, lack of motivation, laziness, or simply put, not caring for it. There are many different techniques and tips which can be used to battle these urges to push work further and further out. A few popular strategies, many of which I use myself, are the Pomodoro technique, the Flora app, the use of a planner, and more. To be more specific on each strategy, the Pomodoro technique is a strategy in which one works without any breaks for twenty-five minutes straight and they are allowed a five-minute break. An important factor to add is that it is discouraged to use one’s phone during this five-minute period since it will often turn into a longer break, destroying the purpose of this technique. However, the time intervals can be modified according to the task at hand. For example, if I am studying for an AP biology exam, it may be more difficult to focus for prolonged periods of time. In this case, I can study for twenty-five minutes and take a break for five. However, if I am doing pre-calculus practice problems and can focus for longer periods of time, I will set my timer for fifty minutes and take a break for ten. The main goal of this technique is consistency, pattern, and solid rhythm. Next, many apps such as the Flora app have been designed to help students stay on task and in turn earn a reward. With this app, each player has a garden that they grow over time. The longer each player studies, the more plants they attain. For example, if I set a timer on the app for thirty minutes and I successfully complete these thirty minutes without being distracted by my phone, I gain a plant. However, if I am distracted by my phone, the timer stops and the plant dies. This motivates the player to keep reaching their goals and expand their gardens. Next, I believe that using a planner has had the most impact on my ability to manage my time and stay organized. Each time I am given a task to complete, I write it down in my planner as well as the deadline; then, I can plan accordingly and prioritize my tasks to complete all assignments in my agenda in a timely manner with a sincere effort. By using these techniques to organize one to-do, plans, and assignments as well as maximize the tasks which can be completed, even in a limited time, we can all change the sentence at the beginning of this article from “The task is due in two days, I’ll do it later” to “The task is due in two days. According to my agenda, I must complete it today so I can decrease my stress on the due date and increase the quality of my work

Neha Koganti: Time management is a technique that I was taught when I was young and have used ever since, for it has played an essential role in my study habits and daily routine. It has especially become of importance when I entered high school as taking honors and AP classes require dedication and involvement. As an artist, I realized that in order to have time for art, I must use my time wisely. Many of my past artworks have been photorealistic art done using colored pencils, which requires an incredible amount of time, dedication, and focus. To be able to give my full attention and energy to art, I realized that I need to create a time management plan to use every day, especially on the weekends. In addition, I participate in many clubs and am on my school’s student publications staff. I write articles for both the weekly newsletter and for the student magazine, which also requires creating design layouts, a deceptively simple element to journalism; both of these activities as well as GTF and school keep me on my toes constantly.

Although I have always been one to make to-do lists and use time efficiently, I created a more structured plan regarding time management during my sophomore year. A technique that I now use is to create a to-do list on Saturday morning for all of the tasks I must complete over the weekend; I then break this list down into two specific lists for each Saturday and Sunday and divide my tasks evenly; for example, I will not assign myself all of the tasks that require more time and focus, such as studying for AP chemistry, all on one day. I will usually create a balance between the hard and easy tasks to allow myself to be fully immersed in my work. In addition, I will give myself an hour for each task (potentially more if it requires more time) to attempt to finish it, which motivates me to remain concentrated without any distractions; however, I always make sure that I am not rushing the task and doing it consciously. This method has assisted me a great deal, for it has provided me the opportunity to put my best efforts into my articles for student publications and also to do art on the weekends.

Though managing one’s time may appear to be arduous at first, I believe that anyone can have the power to do anything if they put their minds to it consciously and with dedication, and the benefits will slowly but surely make their appearance.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Rishi: Being in high school and currently a junior, there is obviously a lot of work that needs to be done, at school and away from school with extracurriculars. Usually, because I play cricket, there are two 3-hour sessions, and a 4-hour session per week as well as being an officer of a few clubs at my school and an active member of the broadcasting program. As for academics, taking 3 AP courses also requires a lot of time to complete the homework and to study thoroughly. A lot of days, these activities coincide with each other all on the same day. Time management is subsequently extremely vital in order for me to succeed in all of these. The biggest method that I use to effectively manage all my activities is to take out the big tasks first, such as projects or presentations that need to be completed. This allows me to focus and complete the major tasks with great quality, which is obviously needed for them. Also, completing smaller tasks toward the end of a day’s work is important because it does not put too much pressure on your brain before going to sleep, which allows for better sleep, and therefore, a good day the next day.

These types of methods for time management are important for everybody because as time goes on, our lives only get busier and more loaded with tasks that need to be completed promptly. Effective and intelligent time management is crucial to having a healthy mental and emotional life going forward, and it also helps with getting the job done with greater quality than you would get by cramming everything down to the last minute and having to rush your work. In the end, it’s important to have a little fun while being able to get your work done and being productive.

Tejas Deodhar: As a junior in high school, time management is crucial for my success, especially this school year. With deadlines, competitions, and testing constantly being thrown around in my daily life, I need to find a balance to best optimize my time and reduce stress. I am involved in my high school’s marching band, so I could typically expect three 3-hour rehearsals after school, football games on Fridays, and sometimes competitions or rehearsals on Saturdays. This creates quite a hectic schedule and leaves no time for slacking off. My after-school band rehearsals create a break from school, and I find it as a place to relax and have fun. When I return home from rehearsals, I have the motivation to complete my work as I find it as a game to complete as much work as I can so I can go to bed. One method that helps me is to put any distractions in another room and attempt to complete and cram as much work or studying as I can on a one-hour stopwatch. After one hour ends, I’ll take a 10-minute break with stretching and some light exercise before doing another one-hour log session.

I believe it is important for students, especially high schoolers, to implement time management in their day-to-day life. This creates efficiency and reduces stress, promoting the overall happiness and free time of the student. Having a school-to-life balance is vital as it results in the success and health of the student. Having separate spheres of “work and play” helps manage time efficiently, as an individual can focus on one task at a time. Social interaction and experiences can also help this idea of separate spheres, as it provides positive memories and motivates one to complete work as it reduces boredom.

Atul Laddu: Grandfather: At age 81 and with several projects running simultaneously in GTF I usually classify my work into different priorities. The work that is very important and is due sooner takes the first priority. Obviously, not every project is attractive enough to work on, but each one must be completed on time without compromising quality. I usually take frequent inventory of the various projects that need my attention and arrange them with the dates for priority. I make a note of the projects and the dates that are due, this helps me in prioritizing my projects. I often spend a lot of time giving personal attention to the students, reading the current literature and developments, thinking of creating new projects, making contacts with outside experts to get exciting projects for our students. These efforts make our projects in GTF always current with the recent developments and advances, thereby keeping our projects with the time.

Mental health and psychological well being

Mental health and overall well-being is key component to a healthy lifestyle, since it affects how people think, feel, and act; it is vital in every phase of life, from a student to adulthood. However, many people often find themselves having trouble with maintaining their mental health in a stable condition. A huge factor in deteriorating mental health is a lack of skills or practice of time management, according to scientists. Without time management, one does not feel motivated to do any of their work and end up procrastinating, which then leads to feelings of stress and anxiety, two detrimental feelings to the mind and body. In addition, if people aimlessly attempt to complete their tasks without a structured plan, they will find themselves feeling as if they have not accomplished anything, yet another feeling harmful to the mind. Time management helps people feel better about themselves and gives them a sense of self-accomplishment and productivity, which are two crucial aspects to improving one’s mental health; in fact, according to one study, time management has a 72% chance of a positive impact on life satisfaction. In order to determine how much one needs time management for his/her benefit, think of how content you feel about how you went about your day yesterday, and if you feel as if it is below your level of satisfaction, then spend time and think about how you could consciously improve; this might include declining your friends’ invites to parties to focus on yourself and your work, but in the end, the benefits will clearly outshine the temporary negatives. It will help create a better internal environment, and therefore, a better external one as well.

Summary and conclusion with a message to other high school friends around the World

To conclude, the mastery of time management is not a simple task that can be acquired in one day. Whether it is teachers, teenagers, grandparents, or doctors, one must learn their own strengths and weaknesses and apply this to their development of time management. By utilizing the many available methods of time management and further learning how mental health can be improved, anyone can reap the benefits of time management on not only the decrease of stress but also the increase in well-being.

We hope that the readers will find our research article on time management a useful one.  We have indicated that time management is for everyone: from a child to a high school student, to a college student, to a person at work, to parents, and even grandparents.

The authors of the article invite the readers of the Indian Periodical to give their comments about what they think about our thoughts.

Future plan

Regarding the future plans concerning time management for everyone, there are many advanced software programs. Since many high schoolers do the majority of their work on their computers in this day and age, it is likely that popular platforms such as Teams, Google, and Canvas may develop small incentives through the portals to congratulate users for completing certain tasks. For example, they may have calendar features on which users can implement schedules and input tasks. However, they will also be able to implement specific timers for tasks that alert the user as to when he or she must move on to a different task. This will increase the productivity of the user and in turn, the time management skills. In addition, a recent update on Apple’s iPhones has allowed users to create modes on their phones for when they are working, sleeping, or simply do not want to be disturbed. With these modes, a notification, “do not disturb” is automatically turned on or other notifications are muted which will allow the user to not be distracted. Furthermore, the user will be able to manage his or her time more valuable even when the potential distraction of a phone is near. Another way in which the future of time management can be enhanced is with artificial intelligence (AI). With systems that find patterns in your schedule and workload, automatic schedules or suggestions might be made on your phone or computer which will offer an outside source to help with time management. As unexpected as it may be, technology- once our enemy of time management-definitely appears to have an opportunity to be our greatest ally.

Acknowledgements

The authors of this project would like to thank Dr. Atul Laddu for his support for this project.

References

  1. Hyder, Shama. “The Future of Work: How Ai Is Changing the Time Management Game for Executives.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 8 Apr. 2021, https://www.forbes.com/sites/shamahyder/2021/04/08/the-future-of-work-how-ai-is-changing-the-time-management-game-for-executives/?sh=4be300d3395a.
  2. IceHrm. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Time Management.” IceHrm, IceHrm, 27 Mar. 2020, https://icehrm.com/blog/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-time-management/.
  3. Preston, Wendy. “ Time Management for Parents-Home.” Time Management For Parents – Home, https://timemanagementforparents.com/index.html.
  4. Russell, Tonya. “Time Management May Ease Work-Related Anxiety, Overall Wellbeing.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 22 Feb. 2021, https://www.verywellmind.com/time-management-may-ease-your-work-related-anxiety-5112644.
  5. Wade, Lori, and Veronica say: “The Importance of Time Management in the Workplace.” About Leaders, 17 Mar. 2021, https://aboutleaders.com/time-management-workplace/#gs.dvqq46.

About  the authors:

Isha Patkar: She is a 10th grader in the Fulton Science Academy, Alpharetta, GA. Isha loves gymnastics, reading, and hanging out with her friends. Isha’s mission in life is to become a physician to help as many people as possible, as well as travel around the world.

Neha Koganti: Neha is a junior at Woodward Academy, Georgia, her hobbies are drawing, making wholesome desserts, and writing poetry. Neha plans to pursue a career in the medicine/healthcare field in the future.

Rishi Bappanad: He is an 11th grader at Johns Creek High School, Johns Creek, GA. He likes to play video games and basketball in his free time, and his mission in life is to become a financial advisor.

Tejas Deodhar: He is a junior at South Forsyth High School in Cumming, Georgia. Tejas likes playing the clarinet and exercising, as both these activities help him relax and improve his skills. His goal in life is to attain and apply a great amount of knowledge about science and medicine, with the purpose of bettering the world with my skills.

 

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