Let’s be real, we’ve all been busy before. The truth is, you’re probably busy RIGHT NOW. Hopefully, that is why you are here, so read on.
There are many ways to handle being busy: getting angry or stressed, procrastinating, doing tasks “half-assed,” or using effective time management to create a disciplined, yet well-balanced schedule. Which do you prefer? No, I’m not going to tell you how to procrastinate better or how to b.s. a term paper, I’m going to give you my 8 Tips to Having Effective Time Management.
As a disclaimer, this is a very power-packed post; either some or ALL of these tips will work for you. So try them out, and see which you like. In the future, I will be doing posts with further detail about each tip.
Here are my 8 tips:
1.) Make a to do list. No brainer, right? WRONG, you’d be amazed how many of my employees (who were also students) would forget about homework assignments, meetings, etc. So, take 10 minutes, look at all your work related emails, all your syllabi, and write down what needs to be worked on, and especially completed, TODAY.
2.) Buy a planner. . . and USE it. Chances are, you already have one; if you don’t, go get one. Then as per Tip #1, find all important dates/assignments/tests/events/tasks/whatever else you can think of, and write them into your planner.
3.) Use your planner, Part 2. Simply writing things down is an excellent first step, but you need to check it periodically. A good rule of thumb is once in the morning to see what to do, once at lunch to see how it’s going, and once at night, to see how you did. Each of these takes a total of two minutes. Trust me, you’ll have time.
4.) “Backplan” events that require preparation. This means taking time to determine what important activities need preparation, then actually placing prep time into your planner (you must also determine how much prep is needed, obviously).
5.) Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, needs a cutoff time. If you say you are going to study for two hours, then make it only two hours; be efficient and aware of how much time you have so you can always move to the next task.
6.) Use block scheduling. The key concept here is: don’t do anything for more than two hours. The brain can’t concentrate at maximum capacity much longer than that. So, take a break: a smoke, a snack, a bathroom visit, a walk, or merely Facebook stalking for 15 minutes to clear your mind and recharge.
7.) Break up your week into different categories. You should include sleep, work, school, study, eat, exercise and FUN. Now, how many hours in a week? 168. Allocate each category (according to priority) a specific number of hours and STICK to it. This makes filling out your planner exponentially more effective.
8.) Discipline! This is the most important tip, and yet the hardest to do. A quote I live my life by is “Do what you have to do TODAY, so you can do what you want to do tomorrow.” When I was in school (not long ago) my last two years I worked 60+ hours per week, took 12-16 units and still had time to see my friends; AND I finished school with a 3.2 GPA along while maintaining the number one position at work. Why? Because I’m a genius? NO, because I had discipline.
Obviously, some of these tips are quite advanced and you may not be ready for them yet. That’s fine. Glean what you can from each post, and save the rest for a rainy day (when you’re extraordinarily busy), and use them then.