Time management: an essential key to success


The man struggling to control time lacks proper time management, resulting in his rushed and unorganized way of living: time cannot simply get pushed around for it will bite the victim in the back when they least expect it. Since time bends for no one, one must understand how to channel it towards productivity and success. Credit: 101#.XfLCwGRKhPY

Lorenzo Alarcon, Staff

People struggle to fit all of their priorities and still have time left to relax. And because of that, people can never fulfill their definition of success. Time can only act as an asset if used properly and efficiently, and success can only become a reality through proper time management. 

 In the YouTube video “Big Rocks- Dr. Stephen R. Covey” motivational speaker Dr. Stephen R. Covey conducted an experiment that included a plastic bucket, a large jar of sand and about eleven fist-sized rocks: the sand represents unimportant actions such as hanging out with friends, watching television, and playing video games. The rocks portray necessary parts of one’s life: planning, family and personal relationships, jobs, major projects, service/community/church, and sharpening the saw (a metaphor for continuous improvement). 

Dr. Covey proceeds to fill three-fourths of the bucket with grains of sand. He then asks someone from the audience to come up and challenges the person to fit all of the rocks in the bucket of sand without exceeding the brim. Despite fifteen minutes of futility putting the rocks in the bucket, the rocks seemed to overfill no matter their placements. Dr. Covey concluded that the rocks can never fit in a bucket filled with sand.

He then recommended a different approach (or a shift in the

paradigm) to the person from the audience. Dr. Covey emptied the bucket and then filled the bucket with all of the rocks first. He continued to pour the sand and the sand seeped through the cracks of the rocks making enough room to fit in the bucket without exceeding the brim. This experiment essentially sums up the essence of time management and its important functions acting as a key to success.

Time management consists of one of the seven major guides known as “The 7 Habits,” constructed by Dr. Covey;  Habit 3: “Put First Things First.” This habit of personal time management, based on principles such as focus, integrity, discipline and prioritization, helps people focus on their highest priorities and eliminate the unimportant. Johann Goethe, a German writer, states that “things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” To help people who struggle to prioritize their time properly, Dr. Covey created a system that includes four quadrants. 

Quadrant 1: Urgent

Necessity, Crises, Emergency meetings, Last-minute deadlines, Pressing problems, and Unforeseen events.

Quadrant 2: Not Urgent

Effectiveness, Proactive work, Important goals, Creative thinking, Planning and Prevention, Relationship building, Learning and Renewal, and Recreation.

Quadrant 3: Distraction

Needless interruptions, Unnecessary reports, Irrelevant meetings, Other people’s minor issues, Unimportant emails, Tasks, Phone calls, and Status posts.

Quadrant 4: Waste

Trivial work, Avoidance activities, Excessive relaxation, Television, Gaming, and the Internet.

Using these quadrants, Dr. Covey advised viewers to list five or six important things they want to put first in their school and personal life, then prioritize them. When done the people made the first steps into a new paradigm or a new way of philosophy that would guarantee an easier way of living.

North Cobb sophomore Kiana Hawley attempted this same shift in paradigm for three days.

“This way of prioritizing my tasks and activities helped me be more organized and finish all my major assignments with extra time left.” Kiana Hawley said.

Kiana holds up her time management, consisting of the four quadrants mentioned in the article. Kiana’s time, properly managed for the past three days, serves as a great asset that helps her to this day.

North Cobb counselor Dr. Dean advised students to have a system of time management for “those are disciplines and habits you need in the professional world,” and that “half of what you learn in school is about the academics; the other half are the disciplines and routines you need to be successful in life.” Dr. Dean said.

Paradigms stand as the way one views the world. Simply changing the philosophy, or shifting your paradigm can act as the first step in becoming successful. Manage time and time will act as a great asset and an essential key to success.