If you’re reading this it’s quite likely that time management is not your strong suit. You probably feel over-worked, over-tired and over it all!
But giving up is not the solution. Instead, let’s look at some easy to implement strategies and time management tools that will help you make the most of the time you already have available and also create some more free time for you.
Tip number one – create and use to-do lists. It might sound obvious, but the first step in getting things done is actually creating a list of the things you want done! How often do you try to avoid writing lists and instead just try to remember the stuff you have to get done off the top of your head? Some people are perennial list makers. But some people never make them at all. If you want to use your time wisely you need to use lists. So use numbers or letters to distinguish between your top priorities and your low priorities (for example number from 1-10 or letter from A-J) and make sure you are very specific in each to-do item (vague to-do items only lead to more procrastination and more time management challenges!)
Tip number two – create some goals and stick to them like super glue (like the one that always get stuck on your fingers) Have you actually created some goals for yourself? Do you know exactly what you are working towards and why? If not, what are you working towards? Are you simply trying to get better? Or maybe just trying to get a pass and move on? If you want to make good use of your time you need to know exactly what you want to get out of whatever you are doing. For example, if you sit down for an hour to study you should know what you’re trying to complete within that hour. So start setting small goals and make proper use of your time.
Tip number three – set your study goals. What are you trying to achieve anyway? Do you even know what your goals are? And if you don’t know what you want how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Seriously, how will you know? Will you just get a vibe or something? When creating a goal you must be specific, measurable, achievable and time-based – otherwise it’s not a goal, it’s just an idea. For example, “I will have a B average in Maths by the end of First Semester” is a lot better than “I will improve in Maths”. When you know what you want you can easily identify those things that are going to help you get there – and those things that are a total waste of your time (i.e. pretty much everything!)
Tip number four – do what counts. A major trap we all fall into is trying to do everything that’s assigned. But that’s actually a waste of your time. You should do only what you know counts towards your final grades. If a paper is worth 50% then spend lots and lots of time on it. If your homework is not worth grades but must be handed in – then make sure you hand it in – but don’t spend as much time on it as anything that counts towards your final grade. Find out what counts the most and give that the most time. Worrying about everything will only drive you nuts!
Tip number five – focus on one thing at a time. When you focus on multiple things at once there is a strong tendency to start all tasks but get nothing completed. Not only that, but your work also tends to be of a lesser quality because you are not focusing. That is a poor use of time. Just complete the tasks one after the other in a sequence and you’ll find that things get completed quicker and with more awesomeness.
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