Your Time: 10 Principles for Managing Time Before Time Manages You by Trevor Schmidt by Trevor Schmidt - Read Online

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Your Time - Trevor Schmidt

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This book is not inherently scientific, let’s get that out of the way up front. The ten principles I outline here are methods that I have developed over the years in order to be my most productive self. I’ve always been curious about finding more efficient ways to do things and I’ll be the first to say that I am still a work in progress. That being said, the principles you will learn in this book will help you on your own path to increasing productivity, efficiently managing time, and becoming a successful person.

If you’re like me, then you have more projects than you know what to do with and you never seem to have enough time to complete everything that you set out to do. Here’s where I have to offer a disclaimer: if you follow these principles and become more productive, some of you may find that you have more time on your hands because of increased efficiency. Some of you may take that extra time to relax or be with loved ones, while some may decide to take on even more projects. I’m one of the latter; a person who never feels right in the head unless his plate is overflowing.

Nevertheless, these principles can be an incredible resource for someone who is generally disorganized and needs a little help getting things done. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and are looking for ways to fit more tasks on your plate, my 10 principles can help you reach success. Maybe you’re an organizational nerd like me and are simply looking for a new edge. In any case, welcome. Take off your coat and shoes and relax. Kick up your feet now, because once you start reading, this might be the last break you get for a while.

Principle 1: Make a List

"The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be."

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fall 2005 ~ Oregon State University

The life of a student can be tumultuous at times, alternating between hardcore studying and outrageous parties. But, anyone that’s been to college knows there is a lot more to it than that. When you first get to college, one of the things everyone is told is to get involved with different clubs and organizations, to network with as many people as you can and to make friends that will last a lifetime. During my first two years of college, I did just that.

In high school I had been involved in some sports, but I never had much interest in leadership activities or planning. Within hours of being dropped off by my parents at Oregon State, something snapped in my head. I’d become instant friends with a couple of guys and we’d gone around our dormitory meeting everyone we could. By the end of the night we’d met about 300 other Freshmen. For the first time in my life, I felt like I really belonged somewhere.

The Vice

A few weeks later, I was elected Vice President of Callahan Hall, my dormitory, but my journey was only beginning. I didn’t know what I was doing and I quickly found that my studies were being overtaken by my extracurricular activities. With my position, I ended up meeting all of the major players on campus and being sucked into project after project. I spent most mornings in class, followed by afternoons working on events and evenings spent goofing off in the dorms or partying until two or three in the morning. I quickly realized that I couldn’t do it all.

It was around that time that I read The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. There’s hardly a book I’ve read in my life that’s affected me as much as that one. In it, Ben Franklin shares thirteen virtues that he tries to espouse in his life. He took it upon himself to spend a week trying to master each of the virtues in turn. Even more than the virtues themselves, what I took away was that he was a master of time management and getting things done. He shares with the reader what looks like a crude 18th Century Excel spreadsheet to document his progress. For the second time since arriving at college, something clicked inside my head.

My initial lists were simple and ultimately ineffective. They were basically a list of bullet-points, all bundled together and without any sense of due dates or gravity attached to any of them. It took more than a year of trial and error for me to find the list-making method that worked most effectively for me.

Note: In the ten years since I started making lists, they have continued to evolve and have become more effective. Always experiment and be open to new methods. Eventually, you’ll find the method that is best suited to your needs. Even then, a better way may come along, so keep your eyes open.

The Big League

After my Freshman year, I was recruited to be a Program Director for the Memorial Union Program Council, a small group of talented students who use a budget derived from student fees to plan events for the whole campus. From Mom’s Weekend and Dad’s Weekend to comedy shows and concerts with national headliners, there was never a shortage of events to plan or lists to make. I have to admit, for a while I went a little overboard on the lists. I was once caught by our faculty advisor with a six-foot span of orange butcher paper and a box of colored