Get Stuff Done: Time Management
One important skill to develop as a young adult that was never taught in school but was expected was time management. Time management is an important skill that is incredible for anyone to have in their toolbox and is a skill employers look for in an employee. Having a strong sense of time management can make or break a stressful week because it can end in one of two ways:
1) Ending the week satisfied because you accomplished all your tasks before their “due date.”
2) Scrambling at the last minute to complete the assigned task minutes before the deadline. Then feeling unsatisfied with the outcome. This may make you feel anxious, stressed, and overall unhappy.
Mastering the skill of time management can allow you to have less stressful weeks and unexpected free time. This skill will not be mastered overnight, and it is a continuous learning process that I have not yet mastered.
There are key steps that can be taken to improve the way you manage your time.
1. Creating a to-do list or using a planner
Start a “to-do list” or get a planner so that you can write down what you want to accomplish during the day. According to Charles Darwin University in Australia: “A ‘to-do’ list serves as a reminder of the important tasks that you need to prioritize.” Tackle the most important tasks first. You should put the list in a place where you can easily access it. These places can be on a bulletin board, refrigerator, calendar, mirror, post-it notes, or on your electronic device. From personal experience, as a college student, I use a planner daily where I write down what I want to accomplish that day. Having that physical planner allows me to refer to it, all the time, and gives me the satisfaction of checking off a box once a task is completed. Everyone has their own unique way of using a to-do list/planner. For those of you who enjoy digital options, there are now apps dedicated to helping you manage your time. National University, a veteran non-profit organization, offers different options here.
2. Be realistic with your goals
Be realistic with the goals and tasks you set for yourself. Having a reasonable list of tasks and time frames is essential to managing your time well. If you have a task that takes a while to execute, don’t rush it. Start ahead of time so that you can give yourself enough time to do it adequately where you will be satisfied with the outcome. John Rampton, a writer from Forbes Magazine states, “I’ve found that setting a time limit to each task prevents me from getting distracted or procrastinating.” When you are about to complete a task, give yourself a time limit so that you can keep focused. For example, you give yourself two hours to complete your Math homework. In these two hours you will not eat, play games, watch television, or do any other thing not related to the homework. Moreover, Dartmouth University states, “Try rewarding yourself when you get things done as you had planned, especially the important ones.” I will admit that I do not treat myself sometimes when I should. This is something I want to change. Treating yourself may look like going bowling with friends, attending a concert, or even just relaxing. It all starts with being realistic with your time commitments.
In conclusion, time management is a skill that is valuable in your educational and professional life. It can be difficult to make this new change later in life, as an adult, but I started managing my time a year ago so I could keep up with my responsibilities as a college student. It’s never too late to start practicing proper time management. It is okay to fail at first, but the key is to be consistent. Eventually, you will be able to master managing your time well. I wish you the best of luck in your journey!
This blog was written by Gary, a High Sierra AHEC Student Ambassador.