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Sound Writing

Section 10.3 Managing Time

Time management is a lot like juggling. In part, it’s like juggling because keeping track of homework due dates, meeting times, and everything else you have going on in your life is inherently difficult; but it’s also like juggling because the process itself is a perpetually active endeavor that requires constant attention and adjustments. Successful time management is a three step process. First, you have to plan your time well. Second, you have to execute your plan well. Finally, you have to pay attention to which parts of the plan weren’t realistic, which parts of execution didn’t go right, and how you can avoid a future mishap. This process is iterative and continuous, so you have to be thinking about how yesterday’s plan went, executing today’s plan, and creating tomorrow’s plan all at the same time. Toss one ball, pass the second from one hand to the other, and catch the third ball. Do it over and over again. When someone makes a mistake juggling, they don’t usually just drop one ball. Failing to do any one step is usually immediately followed by a failure to do any of the steps, and in this respect again it is like time management.
A cartoon person juggles the following items: a book, a planner, an apple, a pencil, and a mechanical pencil.
Before we get into strategies for planning time, it’s worth pausing to talk about using time well, and in particular its worth talking about why we don’t use our time well. Time management requires effort and commitment, and having a reason to commit time and energy to the process makes it easier to create and stick to good habits, especially when they’re difficult at first. So let’s talk about procrastination.