How many times have you said or heard someone say, “I can’t do it because I don’t have enough time”? Probably a lot. I know I have.
If you sleep 8 hours per night, then this means that you have a total of 16 hours to get all your stuff done. When you’re well-organized, this is more than enough time to achieve the daily goals that you have set for yourself. However, if you’re not well-organized, then getting everything done in 16 hours can seem like an impossible task. As a result, you always feel rushed and stressed out, which negatively impacts your performance.
Therefore, a great way to “master your craft” and increase your chance of achieving your goals is to create a weekly schedule! Scheduling involves finding out which activities are essential to your success and planning them in a way that will help you avoid potential obstacles such as conflict and confusion.
Carodine and colleagues (2001) noted that time management skills are especially important for student athletes if they want to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom.
Set aside quality time to complete this exercise. Give yourself a minimum of 20 minutes. Find a quiet place to sit comfortably and focus only on the task at hand. Take 3 deep breaths and relax (close your eyes if you need to).
In your journal, create a detailed weekly schedule (Monday to Sunday) that is broken down into 1-hour time slots. This will be your template.
Afterwards, make a detailed list of all “essential activities” that will help you get closer to your ultimate goal. Make sure that you prioritize your “essential activities” by ranking them in order of importance. Determine how much time you will dedicate to each “essential activity” as well as when and where they will take place. Add these “essential activities” into the appropriate time slot in your schedule (e.g., a block of 3 hours for an engineering class). As you build your schedule, if you notice that there are conflicts between “essential activities”, remove the ones that are less of a priority (lower ranking).
If you are a student athlete, here are some examples of “essential activities” that you should consider incorporating into your daily schedule:
- Sleep (when are you going to sleep?)
- Eating (when are you going to eat?)
- Commute (when are you going to commute?)
- Work (when are you going to work?)
- School (when are your classes?)
- Studying (when are you going to study?)
- Games and practices (when are you playing and practicing?)
- Physical fitness (when are you going to go to the gym?)
- Mental fitness (when are you going to practice your mental strategies such as meditation?)
- Relaxation (when are you going to relax/hang out with friends?)
One thing that I want to point out is the importance of scheduling time to relax every day. By scheduling time to relax every day, you will maintain a good balance between work and play, and have something to look forward to at the end of the day (this can help increase your motivation to complete all the “essential activities” in your schedule).
The last step is to start following and sticking to your schedule. Your attitude must be like Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It”! Your mind will come up with a variety of excuses for not doing your “essential activities”, but don’t listen to it. If an activity is in your schedule, you simply do it! (no-questions-asked). At the beginning, it will take a lot of willpower and commitment, but as you progress and follow your schedule, it will become part of your routine and you’ll stop making excuses.
The last thing I want to mention is to avoid having an “all-or-nothing” mindset. Although you might follow your schedule perfectly for several weeks in row, sometimes it won’t happen. If that’s the case, just focus on getting back on track. Don’t be too hard on yourself. For example, if you miss the gym 3 days in a row, it’s not the end of the world. Just focus on accomplishing all your “essential activities” for the rest of the week. Take it 1 day at a time and I’m confident you’ll do great!
Set goals. Do just one thing at a time. Keep it simple and smart. Do it consistently. Reflect on the process.
Carodine, K., Almond, K. F., & Gratto, K. K. (2001). College student athlete success both in and out of the classroom. New Directions for Student Services, 2001, 19-33.