Team Singapore badminton player Loh Kean Yew coaches us on his time management know-how
written by gwyn lim | photos by loh kean yew
Team Singapore badminton player, Loh Kean Yew, 22, has his eyes set on a goal of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics. When asked what his biggest source of motivation is, he said without hesitation: “To reach the top in the world – wanting to be there is my biggest source of motivation.”
Having just completed his National Service, he’s currently focusing his time on training hard and winning more competitions to be able to earn ranking points and to qualify. Needless to say, Kean Yew knows the importance of making the most of the little time he has each day.
It’s no surprise that as a full time athlete, Kean Yew spends almost every day of the week at training, and this even includes Saturday mornings. In total, he has two off-days a week, with Sundays off and Wednesdays and Saturdays being half-days.
To understand just how loaded his everyday schedule is, we asked Kean Yew for his usual daily routine. Undoubtedly, keeping to such a rigorous schedule is no easy feat for anyone. In fact, keeping up with and juggling commitments is something we all face and struggle with. When asked how he remains so disciplined, he simply said that he’d probably gotten used to keeping up with his schedule every day.
“At the start, it is a bit hard because it’s hard to wake up at six and it’s hard to sleep early. Over time, as I do it every day, I kind of got more used to it,” he explained.
His busy schedules span far beyond Singapore, as Kean Yew frequently travels out of Singapore and all around the world for competitions, which he too admits many may find tiring. However, it may come as a surprise when he says that he doesn’t find this to be too hectic for him, explaining: “Some people will think that flying here and there is tiring, but I like to fly, so to me it’s okay.”
In fact, the most tiring period to Kean Yew isn’t the multiple trips far in and out of Singapore for matches, but it was during the period of time when he was juggling his studies and training as a student. Kean Yew admits that it was very mentally tiring. To put the situation in perspective, he simply explained: “My rest time was my studying time. So basically, I didn’t have enough time.”
He recalled how he’d often have to stay up late to finish his homework as he would not have time in the day because of his trainings. “I used to finish school at 9.30pm and would reach home at 11pm. But, I would not have finished my homework or housework by then… so there were a lot of things to do,” he said.
Of course, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Kean Yew figured that the best way for him to cope with and manage his tight schedule was simply to speed up and work harder. “I just needed to do things faster in order to get those five or 10-minute breaks,” he shared, saying that he quickened his pace to make time for himself and stayed up a little later to make up for the little time he had in the day.
Having been through all of this, we asked Kean Yew for some tips on how to have better time management. He didn’t need to pause and think for long before giving us these useful pointers:
1. “Know what you need to do so that you don’t have to think of what to do when you have the free time.”
2. “Don’t procrastinate, because once you procrastinate, there’s a lot of things that keep on piling up, and thus you cannot finish what you need to do.”
3. “Be on time to do what you need to do.”