You are here

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 be active. 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 help you concentrate and which ones distract 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, Economize (budget) your time to things that need to be done, 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!

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.