By Molly Metzger, Student Author
There is never enough time in the day. I feel we are constantly chasing the clock and often times losing! One of the most troubling parts of this is the struggle to balance what we need to do and what we want to do. How do you find time to do both?
Time Management is one of the biggest stressors in life. As students we are pressured with due dates, studying for tests, deciding what’s next for us as well as keeping up with our extracurriculars and friends. Time management had always been my greatest struggle. In high school I had hours of homework to do each night and never had time to do fun things, which caused me great stress. Over time, however, I have learned to manage my time well.
Here I have compiled the best advice I’ve found for how you can better manage your time too!
How to better handle Time Management
If you read the lists out there about managing time, like I did, you will likely find yourself feeling more stressed out. We do not need to know all the mumbo gumbo about “clock time’’ vs. “real time” or how to budget all our time and set time limits per activity. I am a student too so I understand that when it comes to managing your time, you are looking for a way to get your homework done and binge-watch Game of Thrones. So with not a minute to waste let’s get started!
- Set goals
Decide what you want to do each week, each day. Keep in mind due dates and deadlines and don’t be afraid to make fun goals as well. Do you want to spend an evening with friends? Great! Would you like to have that English paper drafted by Friday? Goals are not about what you have to do; set goals for what you want to do.
Figure out what is most important to you and your schedule and plan to get those things done first. Your priorities will get the most time and foremost attention. For example, class projects always are a priority for me, the more weight it has on my grade the more important the project is. So I set a goal to work on these projects a little bit everyday to be sure I give it my best effort. Spending time with my friends is also a priority so I never feel bad for going out to lunch with them instead of finishing up my school work first.
When prioritizing make sure you are realistic in valuing what needs to be priority in your life. Setting goals and priorities, in time management, means finding a balance for work and fun in your life.
- Plan your Day
Using a planner, calendar or your phone, schedule your days. This has been the most effective tool for me in managing my time. What I do is make a “To-Do” list on a notecard every morning. I plan tasks for myself and cross them off as they are completed. Crossing something off of your to-do list actually relieves stress and gives you positive feelings of productivity and control. Use your planner or list to keep track of deadlines and events. Scheduling helps with long term goals and will allow you to allot time over a course of several days to get a project done. Before long you will be managing your time like a pro and finding a perfect work-life balance!
- Learn to say “no”
Don’t overburden yourself. If you are already really busy then it is okay to say no when someone asks to hang out or wants you to take on another task. There are plenty of things on your schedule that you do not have a choice in either doing or not, so don’t feel bad about refusing to add to your to-do list. Refer to your goals and priorities before agreeing to do something.
- Schedule similar tasks together
When planning your day, it is a good idea to schedule similar tasks back to back. Watching an online lecture and editing a video are alike tasks and I can complete both on my laptop, at my desk. If saves time when you schedule to work on things that are similar in terms of where you work on them and what the subject is.
- Find your productive time
Some of us are early birds; some are night owls. Everyone has that time of day where they feel most energized and ready to work. During this time, whenever it may occur for you, is when you should plan to study, do homework, read or finish a project. It makes sense that you will be most productive when you feel like being productive. Things like chores and shopping can take place at that time when you are warming up to be productive or winding down from a long day of getting assignments done. Plan to complete the tasks that take priority during the time that is optimal for you to be productive.
Lastly you need to sleep and sleep well. After a day of crossing projects off of a to-do list, you need to get well rested so that you will have the energy to do the same the next day. About 8 to 9 hours of sleep is recommended for high school and college students. Give yourself a bedtime, it’s not just for little kids! Having a routine will help you sleep better and routines are good for managing time! With mountains of homework to do, chapters to read and projects to finish, I often felt that sleeping was a waste of time, but being well rested keeps your brain in tip top shape so all of your work will be your best.
You’ll discover that scheduling and prioritizing really helps you get things done. With all your projects done in a timely manner, you will have more time to yourself. I am wishing you success in your time management endeavors!
Please share your tips and ideas for how to best manage time in the comments below!