How to Manage Your Time

Having recently sent out an email to all four Hagsaeng Naebu concerning their new monthly homework assignments, I have decided to undertake the same weekly blog posting requirement that they have.  Students are always asking me how I have enough time in my day to practice Taekwondo (and the other art’s I teach for that matter) and still have time to work and have a few minutes of free time.  Normally, I answer that by simply telling the student to get a copy of (and read) Stephen Covey’s book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”  I don’t follow the book to the letter but I do make use of a good portion of it.  Most people fill their days with a lot of very small (and for the most part meaningless) tasks.  Most of these, though they might seem important, are really not and don’t really have a big impact on the student completing the major goals they have set for themselves.  What a student should do instead is focus on completing one or two tasks that will have a big impact on their goals and then fill in the rest of the day with the other tasks.   That way they will have time to do almost anything they want.  There was a story from the book that does a great job of illustrating this:

A professor stood in front of a classroom full of students.  He brought with him a large glass jar that he placed on a table, so that all the students could see it.  He reached under the table and grabbed a bucket full of very large stones and poured them into the glass jar until it was filled up to the top.  He then asked, “Is the jar full?”  A student in the front of the class said, “Yes.”  The professor, instead of answering him, reached under the table and grabbed another bucket, this time filled with small stones.  He poured them over the top of the large stones and shook the jar so that they filled all the empty space between the large stones.  He then asked again, “Is the jar full?”  Once again a student said, “Yes.”  He proceeded to grab a bucket filled with sand and pour it over the large and small stones.  This time the sand filled the empty space between the stones.  He then asked, “Is the jar full?”  To that a student said, “No.”  The professor reached down and grabbed a bucket of water and poured it over the stones and sand, filling the jar to the top.

If the jar had been filled with the water first, there would have been no room for the stones.  The water is the small insignificant tasks that fill up our day and the large stones are the tasks that are important and that will have a significant benefit to us if they are completed.  So, add one or to large stones and a few small stones to each and every one of your days and then allow the sand and water to fill in the empty space.  Don’t fill your day with water.

“Ok, that sounds great, but how do you do that?” is normally what I get from students after telling that story.  What I tell them to do is this (from Covey’s book); List out all your current roles in life: Boyfriend, College Student, Taekwondo Student, etc.  I then tell them to sit down Sunday night and ask themself, “What one thing can I do this week that will have the most significant impact on each role?”  Once those “things” are listed out, I tell them to write out what they have to do in order to successfully complete that task and when they are going to have it completed by.

Lets say Master Shaffer has, “Hagsaeng Naebu” as one of her roles.  She decides that writing her weekly blog post is going to have the largest positive impact on that role.  So then she thinks about what she will need to complete that task.  Luckily for her that only requires her to come up with a topic, actually write it and to post it to the blog.  She might want to set of goal of writing it Thursday because she has a lot of free time that day.

That’s it.  Simply by identifying your roles and the tasks that will have the greatest positive impact on your roles, you will be able to get a lot more accomplished and still find time to do all the smaller insignificant tasks.  So how can this system fail?  Be careful of how big of tasks you pick for each role.  For example, if Master Shaffer decided that her task was to learn the remaining 15 black belt forms that she doesn’t know before the end of the week, she would fail.  This failure only promotes failure in the future.  Never set unattainable goals for yourself.  Always start with small goals that you can constantly complete.  This will improve your self-confidence in your ability to finish goals that you have set and will allow for larger goals to be set in the future.

It is truly amazing the number of goal/tasks you can complete in a week when following this system.

Something to think about…

by Master Sean Pearson



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