Managing Time Balances Tasks

by  Akina Nishi

It is too late to turn back once one has more responsibilities than time left on the clock, but this situation can be avoided when students learn the significance of managing time effectively.

Leaving everything to the last minute has many negative consequences, most including health, such as lack of sleep, which can lead to illness because of a decrease in immune function.

Our generation, known as Generation Z or Post-Millennials, is the population born in 1995 and later. A study conducted by Essential LLC, a company researching personality and behavior in the workplace, surveyed 70,000 high school students on key behaviors such as proactivity, endurance and self-control. They discovered that Generation Z is more oriented toward rewarding teamwork than personal goals.

Unlike previous generations, Post-Millennials are better at multitasking and faster at information processing. According to the article, “Are You Ready for Gen Z?” on Huffington Post, “Gen Z can quickly and efficiently shift between work and play, with multiple distractions going on in the background.”


Graphic by Emily Duong

The article, “Technology and Time Management” on Huffington Post states, “the illusion of multitasking as the “superpower” of the digital age is intimately linked to distractions, poor time management and loss of productivity.”

Time management becomes a problem, as procrastination occurs when “the value of doing something else outweighs the value of working now,” according to Psychology Today.

Procrastination also stems from external influences. For example, friends who are similar to us in time-managing behavior get used to our excuses and become tolerant of our inefficiency. Procrastination occurs because “we feel like we’re in the wrong mood to complete a task,” or “we assume that our mood will change in the near future,” according to Joseph Ferrari, professor of psychology at DePaul University.

Researchers also believe perfectionism has a role in time management. Perfectionists dedicate themselves to their work, but because of that, it is difficult for them to take risks. To solve this problem, perfectionists choose to avoid the work. Even though this situation seems paradoxical, it makes sense when we realize that when we are conflicted internally, excuses make us feel at ease, as claimed by Ferrari.

According to Hillary Retting, author of The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer’s Block, perfectionists “usually don’t even recognize barriers to success,” and “perceive their outcomes [end results] as being worse than they really are.”

Shortsightedness also ties into perfectionism and procrastination. Shortsightedness, as defined by Retting, is a “now or never,” “do or die” attitude. This mindset causes panic that we want to suppress from usually inevitable mistakes that bother us until we do something about them.

An overemphasis on a current stressful situation, whether it is a project or final exam, is likely because it can be perceived as more important than it really is, which causes pressure.

Retting has a disempowerment theory that explains why students, and people in general, turn to procrastination.

Disempowerment refers to the divergence from one task to distractions. Unlike other explanations for the cause of procrastination as simply laziness or lack of discipline, disempowerment claims that missing abilities, such as lack of focus or attention, have nothing to do with effective productivity.

In Retting’s article on procrastination, laziness, inattentiveness and other missing abilities “are symptoms, not causes, of disempowerment.”

Ways to manage time more effectively include making lists, visualizing a rewarding, positive future and creating self-set deadlines. We can acknowledge our efforts to be productive with rewards, such as taking time off for recreation.

Even though problems with time are difficult to manage, they are experienced by everyone, and are not something we should feel guilty about. Feeling guilt would only increase negative, self-criticizing thoughts.

According to Frank Partnoy, author of Wait: The Art and Science of Delay, procrastination has benefits. During the time that we “waste,” our minds have a chance to wander and pick up on patterns and ideas we never would have thought of before, fostering creativity.

On the other hand, when we start a task and complete it right away, only our first thoughts, which are usually the most basic ideas, would be implemented in the work. We may experience this phenomenon after we finish a task and immediately think of things we should have done, or the “what-could-have-been” situations.

Learning to find balance in a busy life is stressful, but with effective methods of productivity, priorities can be regained and set in order.

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