Do you ever feel like there’s simply not enough time in the day to complete all your tasks? There’s so much going on – school, social life, chores, work, sports, etc. What if there were 26 hours in a day? An extra two hours would make life so much more manageable wouldn't it. This is the eternal Student dilemma: How do I find time to Study, Socialize, and Sleep?!
Let’s be real here: everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day, no exceptions. How you choose to organize your 24 hours however can make all the difference. Time management is a crucial skill to acquire early in life - if it's not studying, socializing, and sleeping that you need to juggle, it'll be your career, your family, and sleep - you'll always need more sleep!
Don’t let time be the boss of you; start practicing time management and be your own boss. Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Plan. Take a few minutes at the beginning of each week to think about your goals, tasks, and activities for the week. For example, is there an assignment due this week? Are there any upcoming events that you planned to attend? Are you looking to secure a job at the end of this semester? Does your best friend expect you to plan her birthday bash?
2. Assign a Value to Your Tasks (aka Prioritize). With 7,777,777 tasks waiting to be completed, which ones are more important? Which tasks are urgent? Assign two values to your tasks (on a scale of 1 to 10): one value for urgency, and the other one for importance. For example, if there’s a term project due in 2 days that’s worth 50% of your total course grade, you could put down an urgency of 10 and importance of 10. If you are hoping to secure a job at the end of this semester and it’s only the beginning of the semester, you may put it down as an urgency of 3 and an importance of 10. There is no right or wrong answers here. It's about your own judgement of how important and urgent something is.
3. Organize and Sort Priorities. When you've assigned values to all your tasks, prioritize those that are both urgent and important, then work your way down to tasks that are urgent and less important, followed by tasks that are less urgent and important, and finally tasks that are less urgent and not so important. The best way to visualize this is to plot your values in the previous step in a quadrant, with importance on one axis and urgency on the other axis.
4. Schedule. Draft up a schedule of your day, your week, or your month if you can, according to the priorities you’ve set up from the previous steps. Use notebooks, calendars, an agenda, sticky notes, or write things down on the palm of your hand! Whatever helps you to keep track of your schedule. This will serve as a guide for your days to come. If you tend to lose track of time, consider setting several alarms on your phone as a reminder for yourself.
5. Be Flexible. Life never goes according to plan but having a schedule serves as a tool to help you track progress and acts as a guideline to help you maximize your daily potential. It’s not definite nor set in stone. Don’t be afraid to change up your schedule to incorporate the unexpected curveballs that life throws you. Like for example, when your brother needs your help planning Mom & Dad's anniversary party or you get a sudden killer toothache and need to schedule in a root canal.
6. Relax, Stay Calm. Falling behind schedule? Relax. It happens to everybody. Mastering the art of time management skill is a life-long lesson. Why? Because life is always changing therefore the demands placed on you will always change. Very few, if any, people are able to stick to such a rigid routine that they can execute their schedules and tasks lists perfectly.