Updated: Jan 17
In today’s hectic and accelerated world, time management is a crucial skill, but not everyone is taking it seriously enough. Effective time management can help us become more efficient and achieve more in a shorter span of time, with less stress. In fact, according to mentalhelp.net spreading out predictable sources of stress can lessen their negative impact. Time management does not only mean organizing tasks to be completed, but also taking necessary breaks, allocating time for physical activity, considering times of day with the highest productivity level and so on.
These steps will help you achieve all of that.
Test your productivity levels at different times of day.
Keep a journal for a week and record the times of day when you actively complete the tasks at hand, as well as the times when you go on Facebook instead of working.
Barbara Green, president of Ontario, Canada-based Think Productive North America, states that “If you are able to maintain focus for 60 to 90 minutes, you’ve identified a time of day when you are highly productive.” After just a few days you will start seeing a pattern which will help you determine your most and least productive hours.
This does not mean that you need to cram everything into that period of time and do nothing during those other times. It means that you need to decide which tasks are the most important for that day and need to be completed efficiently. It also means that you can incorporate a break or a light physical activity during the times of least productivity.
Make a daily and a weekly plan.
Making a rough mental or written plan of what needs to be accomplished on a given day or by the end of the week helps organize time required for its completion. The importance of scheduling activities cannot be underestimated. This especially applies to students who could have several deadlines coming up on the same day. Making a plan helps decide what is a priority and what is not, as well as avoid taking on more than you can handle.
Consistency is key to many things in our lives. Setting up a time-management process and not sticking to it consistently will deliver little success. Of course, there will always be disruptions, this is life, so plan for it and allocate appropriate contingency time to handle unpredictable events and interruptions. Consistency helps you achieve long-term goals and eliminate unnecessary rushing in your personal time-management plan.
Learn how to say no.
This is probably the hardest thing to do. Your fellow students, friends, family will always ask you to do something for them. And yes, some of the tasks you cannot avoid or dismiss. But those that you do not absolutely have to do - don’t do them. Time is valuable and your time is precious. Set your own priorities and do not let others disrupt them and achieve success at your expense while not being as organized as you are. Sometimes you may be tempted to agree to a request or an offer to do something because you actually want to avoid your own work or because it is difficult to say no to someone who is in the position
of power, however, it is crucial to your schedule and to your success to learn to say no in any circumstances. This skill pays off greatly when used wisely. Maybe not immediately, but definitely in the long run.
Take time for yourself.
In order to be able to do anything you need to be healthy and well rested. One study has found that “sleep problems have a great impact on the students’ daily life, for example, the grade point average. Due to irregular daytime routines, chronotype changes, side jobs and exam periods, they need specialized treatments for improving sleep.”
Physical activity, even just 30 minutes a day, according to Heart American Association, promotes enthusiasm and optimism, boosts energy levels, reduces stress. Therefore, getting enough sleep and finding the time for physical activity should be an important component of your daily time-management plan.