Whether you aspire to be a titleholder or are already serving as Miss Something Special, time management is imperative to your success and quality of life. I work with pageant contestants age 8 and up, and each age group faces unique challenges. School aged children and teens are balancing dance and music lessons with school obligations like homework and extracurricular activities. College aged students face the same kind of juggling act with the added stress of balancing work, school and social obligations, while Mrs. contestants factor in raising families, running households and breaking the glass ceiling. No matter which category you fall under, the following are my tips for time management to help you reduce your stress level and increase your productivity.
1. Establish a routine and stick to it. Plan your days. Have benchmarks for each day, week and month. Set your goals and stick to your timeline.
2. Prioritize tasks. Know which tasks need to be completed first. Take into consideration how long it will take you to meet your obligations.
3. Delegate. Utilize your support system and learn to identify which tasks can be delegated.
4. Evaluate where you are wasting time. Part of time management is staying focused and completing the tasks at hand. Eliminate distractions so you can complete tasks and move on.
5. Combat procrastination. What do you put off completing? Practicing your talent, writing essays, going to the gym? Choose to face that looming task you've been putting off. Spend just 15 minutes a day on a dreaded task. Chances are, if you start working on it, you will get into a groove and get the job done.
6. Take care of yourself. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat right and exercise. Take your vitamins and drink plenty of water. After all, you are a "beauty" queen, so treat your body right beautiful.
7. Do it right the first time. Take your time to ensure quality work. Shortcuts can lead to mistakes and added time to fix them.
8. Fill idle time. Whether you are driving in your car or waiting in a doctors office waiting room, bring something to do. You can listen to talk radio and news programs in your car to help prepare for interview. When you know you'll be sitting for awhile, take your journal and get some writing done, review flash cards, read your newspaper, or listen to a pod cast. The sky is the limit!
9. Learn to say no. You are a motivated woman and of course you want to help when ever you can. But, you can't do it all. You aren't always going to be able to take every appearance. Learn when to say no so you don't overextend yourself.
10. Don't forget to breath. Everyone needs to take breaks. Save some time for family, friends, and a little "you" time.
Pageantry is an endurance race and pacing is everything. No matter how well these tools work for you, remember that there are only 24 hours in a day. Contrary to popular belief, you're not Wonder Woman. Ultimately, time management is about learning to adopt efficient behaviors that enable you to make better use of your time. Just one more step towards a balanced life, making your entire pageant experience more enjoyable.
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