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Time Management and the Adult Learner Essay

Time is an amazing concept. Time has been said to be worth more than gold, jewelry or even money. Many would trade valuable items in order to have more of it or even go back into it. We are given time and told to “spend” it wisely. From birth our time is filled with things to do, to learn and to accomplish. What if there was a secret to freezing time, what would it be worth? As a child earns money some choose to save or some spend quickly. Can you “spend” your time that way? It appears the older we get the more time we lose, but have we lost it or just not “managing” our time.

Between work, home and family all of us look for ways to cut corners and provide our normal 24 hour day with just a little more time. Usually we give up one of the most important items needed in our day, sleep. Sure twenty four hours in a day, you should be able to survive on four or five hours of sleep. But for how long can we keep this up; or how many days of this can we endure. Now that we removed sleep from our day, or shortened our sleep by a few hours we can now accomplish all of those tasks. Well then we begin the process of procrastination. Procrastination is an avoidance of an action or task.

My children are the perfect definition of procrastination. “Clean your room” we tell them, “I’ll do it later” they reply. Later comes, it is still not done and then they will not be able to do something they wish to do. Adults are almost just as bad. Whether it is a task from work or even enrolling in school to earn a degree, we will procrastinate in the hopes of someone will complete the task or even earn our degree for us. When that day does not come we look to our excuse of “I don’t have the time”. How do we overcome procrastination? First be aware that you are! When jobs or goals come to mind, write them down.

Making a list of those items with the date the item was noted and a possible completion or goal date. Now when the date of completion has passed and the task not completed we now see what else overcame our life that we procrastinated completing the assignment. “I’m not ready to go back to school” we say, even though a higher education can help with a promotion, entitling us to more income or a better position with in a company. “I have too much on my plate already”, is another common excuse we use. Admit it, we all have. Between family, friends and work our day can be pretty filled with jobs.

The picture we need to look at is what is most important in our lives. Let’s look at our day like building a building. We need planning. No one can just start building without a plan in mind. Whether it be drawn on a paper napkin or detailed on architectural blue prints with various angles and views, we need to start with a plan. So your goal is to go back to school, as was mine. First we need to identify the project, returning to education after years away from the books. As we identify the project we have certain items to consider, feasibility, requirements and meeting a schedule to name a few.

But we have our project and now we decide is it feasible? Yes, returning to school can be done. What are the requirements and does it meet my needs of my schedule? We’ve do our research and we find a great online school that can work around our “hectic” schedule. So we now move into our Objectives stage. Objectives summary can be summarized in a acronym (Blanchard, 2005) S. M. A. R. T. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. So we go back to our goal of education and use our acronym SMART. We first look at Specific; going back to school to earn a degree in Homeland Security.

Measureable; sit down with a college counselor and discuss the options available. Attainable; what will it take to earn this degree. Relevant; currently working in the field or it is a career path with has struck interest and your feelings are good towards a rewarding career. And last, Time Bound, making sure we set aside time in order to complete the goal in a timely manner. Managing a busy day of work, family and an education can be tough. We established our goals but how can we make time for them and the other important things in our lives.

A day may have to begin an hour or so earlier in order to get ample time to maybe review the day’s activities. The tough part has just begun, because we will usually be ready to get the family off to school and then ourselves to work. Then the actual work begins. Depending on your job you may have folks who work for you or work with you. Here is where you need to be able to delegate to ensure your day doesn’t end with additional work that you bring home. This can then add to a stressful evening. Making time for the family, cleaning and cooking can add to this as well.

A good start before starting a new goal of education would be to discuss this with family and friends. Their support is necessary in completing these goals. Enlist the help of family with chores and cleaning around the house. This can allow you some extra time each evening to be able to find quality time for you to work on you education. Let your friends know of your goals to help encourage you to succeed. Friends who call you nighty to go out or spend time with them doing other activities can be distracting and lead to a poor concentration and will damper the chances of your goals.

When return back to school, start slow, have a plan. Plan the work, work the plan (Forsyth, P) is the beginning step in your return to education. Develop your plan, looking at the tasks required over the length of the course. Divide the material weekly and attempt to create a daily schedule of what you can accomplish. Now here is where procrastination can kick in cause a problem. Waiting till the last minute to try and complete a week’s worth of tasks will usually end up causing undue pressure and can be less productive. Always prepare for the emergencies that will poke their head from time to time.

Computerize it! We can use technology to our advantage but it can also be our emergency. Strictly relying on a computer can lead to disaster. Power problems, internet outages, and even the occasional computer crash can spell problems. Take notes, print as you can and become organized in folders or binders can assist in the event your lose some of your technology. You may have to write a paper or begin some research by reading actual paper and pen. Be sure to ask for help with friends if you need to use a computer or printer in order to complete and assignment in a timely fashion.

The management of time is very achievable if you set your mind and your heart to your goals. When you want something in life you have to work for it. Nothing is ever handed to you. Everyone has the ability and time to learn something new. It takes patience, understanding and determination and you too can achieve a higher level of learning. When you start of small and work your way up, you will be able to achieve more and will not be so stressed on your time and will have plenty of it in order to still provide time for family, your friends and most of all yourself.

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