Managing Your Time

Time management is really hard. I can’t tell you how many nights I’m up until 2 a.m., because I just haven’t managed to get my homework done after work, school, my extracurricular activities, my friends, my boyfriend and whatever else I needed to get done that day. Many students have a reputation for being way too busy and, with how fast the days seem to go by, every minute becomes important. Here are a few tips to making the most of your time.

Write everything down. The first step is remembering everything that you need to do, and if you’re anything like me, it’s probably a long list. Unless your memory is great, you’ll want to write down everything that needs to be done and when it needs to be finished by.

Then, you have to actually look at it again. I have bought and thrown aside more planners than I can count, no matter how many times I tell myself that this is going to be the one I use. There are a lot more options than just a traditional planner, because they don’t always work for everyone. You could try a wall calendar, an electronic calendar, or even a to do list, as long as you will see it everyday, preferably more than once a day.

Photo by jean-louis Zimmermann
Photo by jean-louis Zimmermann

Set mobile alerts. This is the age of smart phones. We use our smart phones for everything, so why not our schedules? There are a lot of benefits to electronic calendars, with one of my favorites being the ability to set alerts. If you don’t think you’ll remember to look at your schedule enough, then set a reminder on your phone.

Use the internet. The other thing our phones do that is awesome is connect to the internet. You can sync your mobile calendar to your computer so you always have it handy. If you don’t have a mac to sync your iPhone to, google calendar has an app and works just fine, too.

Expect to get a little distracted. We don’t live in bubbles, so odds are there’s going to be a person or a text message that is going to want your attention when you need to get something else done. When thinking about how much time it will take you to finish something, you need to add in enough time to allow a couple distractions.

But don’t let yourself get overly distracted. If you find yourself constantly checking Facebook or in a text conversation with four different people when you’re in the middle of your homework, then you’re not working effectively. The more distracted you are, the longer it will take you to finish the task at hand. If you don’t need the internet, get out of your room and go somewhere you can’t connect. Leave your phone in another room on silent so you won’t be tempted to go check it. There a couple of apps and websites that let you block certain websites for a length of time that you choose. Consider downloading “StayFocusd” for Google Chrome. It’s free!

Take a step back. If you always feel like you don’t have enough time, maybe you need to examine what exactly you’re spending your time on. How long are you browsing through your phone or the internet when you’re sitting in front of your computer with a half-finished paper? How many nights have you gone out this week when you know you have a huge paper due on Friday? Besides unplugging, it’s important to determine other ways to get more time. If you’ve seen your best friend/boyfriend/girlfriend four times this week, maybe you should stay home and finish that paper. If you work, go to school and have extracurricular obligations, maybe it’s just not feasible to see every friend every week.

Ultimately, it’s up to you. Sometimes, when you need to be productive, you have to give up the fun stuff for a couple hours. You shouldn’t have it do it all the time though, because having time for yourself is also really important. The key is finding the balance between work and play.

Have you tried any of these tips or have tips of your own to share? Feel free to leave a comment below!

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