When it comes down to managing your time I have learned a few tips and new ways to plan my day that seriously changed my life!
I recommend taking a sheet of paper out and writing down all the deadlines you can think of or important things you need to get done within the next month or the following weeks to come.
- These can be deadlines for work, deadlines for school projects, exam dates, any upcoming appointments you have scheduled… literally write down everything you would like to get done in the near future! Write down “personal deadlines”on this sheet, as well. When I say personal deadlines I am referring to any obligations you may feel you need to attend to in your life or any lingering reminders you’ve had in the back of your head for awhile now — like calling a friend back or finally getting those thank you notes sent out. So now you have a list of everything you need to get done. That’s a great start. You’re aware of all you need to do, but sometimes just having a huge list of tasks to accomplish can be overwhelming! It often leads us to overestimate the amount of work we actually have and to not even know where to start!
This is what you can do instead…
Print off your calendar every morning. If you have a job in which you are using a computer then you most likely have an Outlook Calendar that shows your schedule each day. Print that out. If you don’t have Outlook, you can download this daily schedule template that is perfect for this technique: Click Here to access it and be sure to print off lots of copies! Plan on using one every day of the work week 🙂
What you are going to do now is look at your list of things to do and actually block off time on your printed calendar to do them. When I was simply writing down what I needed to do each day and checking the tasks off as they were completed, I was unknowingly allowing myself way too much time to get these things done.
To show how I changed that and how the time management skill you are learning in this post works, I am going to use myself as an example.
Below is an old “Things to Do Today” list of mine I wrote out the day:
Things I Need To Do:
- Email academic advisor to schedule meeting
- Call TEK Systems Recruiter back
- Take Sports Communication online quiz by the end of the day
- Text Cody (old friend who reached out) back
- Update my LinkedIn Profile
- Pay parking ticket
- Follow up with Prudential about possible future job opportunity
- Fill Prescription
I wrote these tasks down and gave myself the entire day to get them done. By doing so I was overestimating the actual time needed and was unknowingly procrastinating throughout much of my day.
What I learned to be SO much more efficient was to print off my calendar each morning and block off time for each task:
By blocking off 9:00 — 9:30am to email my advisor, text cody back, and follow up with Prudential about the possible job opportunity, I crossed three things off my list in one half hour of my entire day.
Blocking 2:00 — 2:30pm to take my online quiz and then 2:30 — 3:00pm to update my LinkedIn crosses off two more.
And lastly according for 6:00 — 6:30pm to be spent getting my prescription filled and taking either the fifteen minutes I have while waiting at the pharmacy or my time driving back home to call and get paying my parking ticket taken care of, that completes my whole list in just two hours.
If I did not physically schedule the time to do each task on my calendar and have it in front of me, I would have probably spent a big portion of my day avoiding doing these things. It’s fair to say I would’ve also probably put at least one item off for the next day, causing me to feel more stressed and anxious.But instead, using this time management strategy, I was able to complete all eight tasks on my to do list in only two hours out of my entire day.
By mastering this skill and learning how to properly manage your time, I really think that you will be shocked at how much easier it is to knock out all the everyday tasks that may be piling up in your life! I am forever grateful to the team member who showed me this technique and I wanted to pay it forward. I hope that by sharing this, someone will find this time management tip as helpful as I did!