Column: Mastering the ‘game’

How I effectively manage my time to accomplish my goals


Julia Vastano

Senior Julia Vastano’s weekly academic planner.

Julia Vastano, Editor-in-chief

Editor’s note: With the administration presenting a video on time management this week, editor-in-chief Julia Vastano offers her tips on the subject.

Time is the greatest, most natural equalizer among mankind. While wealth, social class and opportunities may be distributed unequally even in the most socialistic of nations, everyone no matter age, class, or race has the same amount of time in the day.

The key to prosperity and, dare I say, happiness is what you do with this time.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a strong sense of awareness to this matter. I’m not sure if it’s something that I acquired, or if I was born with this sensitivity, but it has benefited me in many ways.

In high school I have taken and maintained mostly A’s and a few B’s in 12 AP classes. I am an editor-in-Chief for a national award-winning newspaper, president of Key Club, vice president of Junior World Affairs Council, Logistics Chair on the Relay for Life Committee and a member of the drill team. Over the past four years, I was also on the mock trial team, on the Congressional Youth Advisory Council for Congressman Sam Johnson, a student council member, and dancer for a ballet company.

The lines each have an assignment written on them with a numerical account of each days work.
Julia Vastano
The lines each have an assignment written on them with a numerical account of each day’s work.

Additionally, I am a member of three other service organizations and am organizing a benefit fashion show to raise money for Operation Prom. I have met a U.S. President, have had two internships, am a professional model and am in the process of finishing my first book.

And, yes, I have friends, watch Netflix, sleep upwards of eight hours every night, and still have time to workout and play with my dogs.

To clarify, I am not bragging about all I have done, but rather am proving to you that I have, in fact, done a lot in four years. I am writing this column to answer the question I get from friends, acquaintances and my parents – how?

Two words: time management.

To me, time management means careful planning ahead of time. When I get an assignment in class, I look it over right then, pull out my planner and allot how much time daily I need to spend on it to accomplish it. For instance, if I know I have a project due in a week, I try to work on it for 15-20 minutes a night. That means well over two hours will be spent on the project by the end of the week and it will be completed with minimal effort. Sometimes it works out where by overestimation of allotted time need, I end up having nights with no homework (even though I have an A in four AP classes).

As far as extracurriculars, managing them can be difficult at times, but it isn’t as horrible when you actually enjoy what you are doing. I always consider the values of an organization before I join, and what responsibilities I will have as a part of it. Then, much like with my homework, I distribute the responsibilities over time and make sure I will be free for meetings. When you are excited about your extracurriculars they becomes less like a job, and more like meeting up with a group of friends with a common purpose.

I am obsessive about my planners so that I can maintain the set distributions of time I have created. Currently I keep two planners, one of academic assignments and a second of extracurriculars and work. I love using Lilly Pulitzer planners because the layout is suitable to listing daily activities and they are bright and colorful.

And for the other stuff like writing and interning and meeting world leaders – these are all products of my time management in that I have extra time and motivation for them.

Mastering time is kind of like a game; the more you manage the more time you have. So after school is over, my small amount of homework is completed, and extracurriculars are finished, I get bored. I am finding more and more that I crave something to do. So, I apply for internships, leadership programs or literary competitions.

You have to have a little bit of ambition and a whole lot of coffee to make a schedule like mine work, but I truly believe with time management, it’s achievable for anyone.