Accompanying slides

Final Speech

Life in university is hard. Between managing your grades at school, having a vibrant social life and sleeping well enough, we oftentimes as students need to sacrifice one of these.

When I came to university last year, there were so many things I wanted to do, from joining the badminton club, to participating in a student design team, to learning how to cook on my own, to finding a solid friend group, but there was all this school work I had to do as an engineering student.

With only 24 hours a day, this felt impossible, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way.

I’ve always wondered, how do some people do it? How can they do so much more than me?? I mean, we all have the same amount of time. Let’s do some quick math together.

In a given week, there are 168 hours. If you take away all your mandatory commitments: 8 hours of sleep a day, 40 hours of class a week, 3 hours of studying a day, and 2 hours to day take care of yourself, whether that is showering, eating, or getting ready in the morning,

There’s still 37 hours that we all have extra in a given week. That’s right, not 5 hours, not 10 hours, but an entire 37 hours to do whatever you want to do! So we can have all three in this triangle after all..

So why is there such a big discrepancy between what we perceive, and the reality? Well I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t know, but I do know that I was not using these 37 hours effectively!

So this led me to thinking: what can I do to better manage my time?

There is this popular saying in business: “what gets measured gets managed”. Which is the idea that if you’re measuring something, then the probability of you acting on the information you now have is a lot higher. So I had this brilliant idea last year, if I wanted manage my time better, I should just track it.

So over next 2 weeks, I ran an experiment by tracking every single minute of my life using a software that I found called Toggl Track.

From the minute I woke up, to the minute I jumped back into my bed to sleep, every single minute was tracked.

Of course, at first, it felt very tedious, you can just imagine me tracking the 10 minutes I spent scrolling through instagram 5 different times over the day, but over time, I started getting used to it.

This time tracking was so life-changing to me that even today, 1 year later, I still track my time every day. And I think you should start doing it too.

By the end of the 1st day tracking my time, I noticed an instant benefit. Whereas before, I couldn’t even remember what I did 4 hours ago, now that I started tracking my time, I could just see it and this helped me become more conscientious of what I was doing over the day.

But what really sold me was when sunday night arrived every week, when I was lying on my bed and I could just open up my time tracker, look back at my week and know exactly where I invested my time.

Why is that important? Well, it’s one thing to feel like you studied 40 hours and another to actually study 40 hours. By tracking your time, it’s very easy to be honest with yourself and make adjustments for the next week. So if you’re spending too much time on a subject and not enough on another subject, you can adjust accordingly.

For me, it was realizing that some weeks, I was spending too much time socializing and not enough time on school, so I made the proper adjustments for the following week.

Ultimately, to me, time management is not about maximizing every single minute towards “working”. Rather, It’s about taking control of your life so you can do more of the things you actually want to do!

It’s okay to watch youtube videos, just like it’s okay to play video games with friends, as long as this is what you want. Tracking your time is just going to help you become more aware of how much time you are actually spending.

Ultimately, there’s no magical formula for optimally organizing your time in university, it’s just depends on what your priorities are, what kind of person you are and what you want out of university. But I do feel like a lot of us are wasting time, doing things that are not important to us, without even realizing it.

The famous author Seneca once said: “It’s is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it”.

So consider tracking your time if you haven’t already, so you can start planning and living a life that you’ve always wanted.

  • Steven Gong