When one of my subbies asked me to address time management, I immediately started to have flash backs of all the days when my to-do list was overflowing and my attention was split in multiple directions. Even after working in corporate America and successfully completing my first year of business school, I still do not think that I am a subject matter expert on time management. However, I have had enough time management successes and failures to provide you with some key tips:
(1) Write down your obligations, assignments, and anything else of importance. You may think you have a great memory but it’s very easy to forget something when you are balancing a heavy workload.
(2) Create a daily To-Do List or as I like to call it an Accomplished List to help you focus your efforts and make the most of your day. There will be times when priorities change and certain things do not get done but this list can at least act as your daily guide. I find that writing this list each night after reviewing my calendar yields the best results.
(3) This sounds so silly and basic but you can cut down time in your morning routine and get more sleep by preparing your school bag, lunch, snacks, and outfit the night before. There have been days when I woke up late and still managed to get to class on time because I had everything prepared and laid out for easy access.
(4) Schedule “Free Time” even if it’s just 15 minutes per day. We all need a break and some “me “time.
(5) At the beginning of each school semester or quarter, write down all of your assignments on the calendar. Set automatic reminders in Outlook or the platform or your choice to be alerted within 5 days of having an assignment due
(6) If it’s possible, read ahead and complete assignments early. Being proactive is essential when you have a lot of things to do and not enough time to do it.
(7) Ask for help (yep none of us are supermen or superwomen) My professor and a corporate VP both told me that if you have to spend more than 15-30 minutes trying to figure out your assignment, then it’s time to ask for clarity. Do not waste precious time. Be humble enough to ask for help and smart enough to leverage your resources even if it’s only Google.
(8) Say NO! If you are anything like me, you love to support a good cause and lend your assistance to people and organizations however, its ok to decline requests. You can gracefully decline without offering an explanation. Kindly saying, “I would love to but my schedule does not permit me to participate “ is certainly enough. If it is something you are really interested in, ask to be notified in advance so you an plan to participate next time.
(9) Quickly determine what your professor or manager really expects from you. In a particular class this quarter, I got the same grade on an assignment whether I spent 30 minutes or 3 hours on it. Once I figured out his expectations, I did the assignment in a way the appealed to his interests. Each school, professor, and course may be a little different but please understand that your target audience is your professor or boss and he/she ultimately determines your grade/pay or promotion.
(10)Similarly to #9, you should schedule time with you Professor (or Boss) anytime you need clarity on key course concepts and if needed, seek tutoring. Having the right tools and assistance will save you a lot of time and frustration. In the work setting, you can gain alot by partnering with other people in your division on projects or by seeking out a mentor who can act as your guide.
What do you do to manage your time?
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