Self-Help: Time Management
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Help accomplish your goals by trying these practical tips for using your time effectively.
Planning can be divided into long range and short range. Long range planning can go from one to five years. This is the planning that gives overall direction towards goals.
Short range planning includes one month planning, that enables you to notice possible crises before they occur; and weekly and daily planning, which increases your general effectiveness.
We prioritize whether we think we do or not. When you say "I don't have time," you are really saying "I choose to do something else with my time." When assigning priority to your tasks, consider the Value versus Urgency.
Tasks that have significant value may not have immediate deadlines, but do have eventual impact of great importance on the accomplishment of your goals.
Urgent items can easily get most of your focus, at the expense of the higher, long term value tasks. Try to take some small steps on the value list each week.
Make to do lists that encourage you to balance different kinds of needs.
- What I should do vs. What I want to do/ Don't leave out either responsibility or pleasure.
- Things to do for me vs. Things I do for them / Not taking care of yourself will limit your efficiency.
- What's valuable vs. What's urgent / Remember that valuable uses of time may include keeping up your important friendships/relationships.
- Include the preceding factors when making your TO DO lists. Rate each item, whether school related or personal, from 1-5, in order of importance to you.
Break up large jobs into smaller ones. For example, when writing a paper, schedule separate times to collect resources, read the materials, write an outline, compose the paper, edit, and put on the finishing touches.
Use your biological rhythms. Notice the time of day when your energy is high, and schedule your more demanding work at that time.
Curtail "Time Bandits"
- Email - Limit the number of times you check it daily, as well as time spent on replies.
- Internet Use - Set a timer for 30 minutes to stay aware of how much time is passing.
- Television - Plan ahead for which shows you will watch. Don't turn it on randomly.
- Phone/Pager - Try to wait to call back when you have a study break or have finished your homework. If you do answer when it comes in, tell your friends you will call them back at the end of the study session. They will still like you!
- Distractions - Eliminate as many audio/visual distractions as you can. Choose places and times to study when roomates/others are busy with quiet activities or gone.
- Lying Down - Leads to sleepiness when studying. Don't go there.
- Errands - Working in small errands daily will help you avoid having to spend a whole day weekly "catching up".
- Procrastination - A common complaint. See the article on Procrastination Prevention page.
Notice Each Day's Accomplishment
Sometimes it is easier to focus on what we didn't get done each day. Make a habit of giving yourself credit for what you did.