Time Management and Setting Priorities

It never seems like there's enough time for all the things you want to do in a day. That may be less an issue of time, and more an issue of how you use it. 

  • Don't try to multi-task. It seems like doing two things at once would be better, but it's about 20% less efficient.
  • The price for more freedom is responsibility. Think about how you spend your time and balance the two.
  • Take time to sleep, eat and workout. When you feel better, you work better. Don't think of it as wasted time!
  • Use bits of small time efficiently. Waiting in line or for the bus? Bring along something you can work on.
  • Take some time every morning to plan out your tasks. Think about what you need to do and prioritize it.
  • Clean your work-space. Cluttered vision clutters the mind. Do what you can to minimize clutter and you won't regret it.
  • Start over at 2 pm. Notice you're getting nothing done? Re-evaluate and plan what you can do with the time remaining.
  • Figure out when you work best. Is the day wasted if you don't complete work by noon or are you a night owl?
  • Prepare for success. Have everything you need on hand so you're not taking short breaks to fetch items.
  • If you listen to music while you work, figure out what kinds helps you concentrate and which ones distracts you.
  • Rank the things you have to do. If cleaning is your most important goal, do it first. Move down the list in order.
  • Take a time management course. There's no shame in needing some outside help from a coach.
  • Use POSEC: Prioritize goals, organize daily tasks, streamline tasks, cut non-essentials and contribute overall.
  • Plan ahead, but be realistic. If you never end up studying when you plan to, work up to that goal with short sessions.
  • Break huge tasks into small ones. Don't plan to study everything for your exam; study by topic, chapter or class.
  • Admit when you have too much going on and decide what you can give up. It's not easy, but it's essential!
  • Turning off your phone and the Internet can limit your distractions. If you can work without them, try to.
  • Get a do-not-disturb sign. Plan for breaks and if people have things to discuss with you, have them come back then.
  • Take five-minute guilt free breaks every hour. Time them and try not to think about whatever you were doing.
  • Make a distinction between wasted time and time you need to de-stress. Admit when you're procrastinating.
  • Try out a tool like Rescue Time-- it will monitor what you spend time on the computer doing and give it a point value.
  • Check out this great guide by the University of Guelph. Great management tips for any student! http://bit.ly/W3ULd7
  • Spend 15 minutes a day doing something you hate but need to get done. Slow progress is still progress.
  • Say no to things that aren't crucial. If you usually surf the Internet but it feels like wasted time later, don't do it!
  • Protect your time. If you need to finish something but get invited out, draw a line and only attend when work is done.
  • Make deadlines, even for personal projects. If completion dates are too far apart, try to have small goals each week.
  • Don't do someone else's work-- it might seem quicker and easier to do it yourself, but neither of you benefits from it.
  • Identify things that can help you achieve your goals. Do you need a book, a class, a friend? Try some things out.
  • Accept that you will never complete everything. Your to-do list should change each day, to reflect where you are.
  • Do the worst thing first. Hate reading reports? Get it out of the way and you'll feel free with the rest of the day.