How to Better Manage Your Time (Part I)
Everyone has a busy schedule that can sometimes be overwhelming. Some of us have school, work, homework, extracurricular activities, children, or maybe all of them and more. It may feel impossible to get everything done and 24 hours in a day may not feel like not enough time. But it is! If Beyonce can do it, so can we. Since I went to college, I've had a jam-packed schedule for the duration of my undergraduate program. Each semester, I overload with 8 classes due to my double major and minor, I have a total of 3 jobs, I'm a member of 15 student organizations, I'm a business owner and writer, I'm currently applying for graduate school, and I still make time for friends and self-care. Yes that is a lot, but it is possible to get it all done. To put the icing on the cake, I have managed to keep a 4.0 GPA in the midst of my busy schedule, so there are no excuses. I want to help you maximize your lifestyle to reach a higher level of success. Here are my tips for time management.
Get a Planner and USE it.
Being organized is the main key for effective time management. I have a large planner that has two sides for each day. On one side, I write down my classes and meetings, and on the other side, I write down things I want to accomplish for the day. Now, you do not have to do what I do, but find what works best for you. Make sure to write everything down in a planner, and do not mark it off until it is complete. Also, a planner helps you to remember things more, so you will be on top of it.
Hold Yourself Accountable
As humans, we often like to point the finger and avoid self-responsibility. But, if you want to do better at managing your time, you will have to take responsibility for your actions and hold yourself accountable for what you do not finish. If you have a homework assignment due, and you failed to complete it on time, do not go to your professor saying that you had other things to do. It is YOUR fault why you did not get your work done. The more you point the finger at external factors, the less successful you will be because you are training your mind to think that your life is in everyone else's hands, and its not. So please, take responsibility for your actions and take initiative in your duties, because you are in full control.
Prioritize your Goals and have Goals for each Task
Another important concept about time management is identifying your priorities. I typically arrange my priorities by time and due dates. For example, if its Monday and you have one assignment due on Wednesday and another due on Friday, then complete the assignment due on Wednesday first. Or if you are the over-achiever like myself, you could get both assignments done on that same day. Additionally, make sure you are making goals for each task. If you have a large project to complete, then break it up into parts. For example, if you have a long paper to finish, work on the introduction and the first few paragraphs one day, and finish the rest at a later time. The point here is to learn what is important and complete the tasks in a timely fashion.
Do the most Challenging Assignment First
In addition to knowing how to prioritize your goals, you must be able to analyze which tasks will take more time. Typically, more difficult tasks take more time, and it is essential to get these done first. For me personally, research papers and proposals take the longest for me to complete, and if I have one due soon, I ensure that it is done way ahead of time. If you start on more difficult assignments first, it is easier to get things done that take less time. Also, when these big assignments get done, you will feel more relieved and you will have more time for leisure activities. Never wait until the last minute to complete big tasks, it will just stress you out even more.
Time management can sometimes feel impossible but there are ways that it can be done. Stay organized, know your goals, and identify your priorities and you will be well on your way to effective time management.