How to manage time? (with DERP!)
He who masters his time, masters his life.
Have you wondered why some students not only excelled academically, but also found the time to be heavily involved in various extracurricular activities? These students would score straight ‘A’s, represent their school for soccer competitions, be the vice-president of the Science Club and to top it off, be in the Student Council Committee. Where do they find all the time to do so much? After all, everybody has only 24 hours a day – a resource that we all have an equal share of.
To answer that question, we must first take a look at what sets different people apart by analyzing how we choose to spend our time. It might even come as a surprise how time just slips by everyday without us knowing.
In a single 24 hours, let’s loosely break it down to:
- 8 hours of optimal sleep
- 8 hours of school (7am – 3pm) or work (9am – 5pm)
- 1 hour of traveling back and forth between places
- 1 hour of doing essential things like eating, showering
This leaves us with about 6 hours everyday known as our ‘personal time’. The problem is, most of us take our personal time for granted doing things that are either unproductive or fail to take us closer to our goals. Instead of letting time take control of our lives, if we adopt a simple life hack into our routine, we will be able to be in control and achieve a lot more, a lot faster.
Imagine yourself waking up in the morning, realising that it is going to be a busy day with many different tasks that you are expected to complete and fulfill but with so little time. In the past, you would either end up calling it a day without ever completing all the tasks at hand, or convince yourself to adapt various strategies doing what is commonly known as ‘multitasking’. But, the truth is, multi-tasking does not equate to being productive. So here’s a simple DERP strategy you can adopt moving forward – Delegate, Eliminate, Reschedule and Prioritize.
D – Delegate
Despite having a lot on your plate, you need to realize that you do not have to do everything yourself. There are some tasks in our day that we can delegate – or essentially find someone (preferably a trusted help) to help you fulfill the job. For example, walking the dog or buying groceries. Even as students, we can always ask for help or delegate certain tasks among our peers to ease our own workload. Just remember to return the favor when it is your turn to be approached.
E – Eliminate
The second strategy requires a lot more consideration and basically needs you to focus on what’s most important by eliminating distractions. In this day and age, we are constantly glued to our phone screens – playing games, watching videos or scrolling through social media. But with only 6 hours of personal time every day, instead of aimlessly spending 3 hours on our phones, you can definitely choose to eliminate 2 hours of phone time and instead use those hours to do something more productive.
R – Reschedule
‘Do I really have to do it now?’ This is probably the most fundamental question you need to ask yourself when applying this strategy. It involves the ability to say no and to know when to postpone the tasks at hand. We are all guilty, in one way or another, for saying yes to something enjoyable and sociable despite knowing that there is an upcoming test or major national examination. Instead of watching the movie now, why not do what you know you have to, clock in your revision hours before engaging in that guilt-free pleasure.
P – Prioritize
To prioritize simply means to always schedule in the most important tasks first before slotting in or rescheduling the enjoyable activities. This way, we make sure to make time for the things that truly matter. You will begin to realize that doing the important things first (instead of waiting until the last minute), will leave you with a greater sense of control and accomplishment. And now that you have done everything that is important, any time left over in that 6 hours of yours, can truly be called your ‘personal time’.
You probably heard people saying this a lot “Time is Money”. Every minute that passes by is a minute you have spent. If you choose to use it wisely, you might just get something in return. After all, money does not just grow on trees and success would not just happen to knock on your door.
Matthew Zachary Liu, Trainer (I Am Gifted!TM Programmes)