Time Management 2.0

Published on November 11, 2016 by arothstein

After you have mastered the basics of keeping up with your weekly school schedule and balancing your essential home tasks, you may think that you have no need for growth in the area of time management. However, time management is a skill that can constantly be honed and improved. Achieving the basics of time management means that you get everything done, but it doesn’t mean that you get everything done efficiently. As you strive for improvement, you can learn to get your to-do list whittled down in much less time.

One of the first things that you need to do prior to taking your time management method to the next level is to assess your current areas of weaknesses. For an entire week, you should maintain your normal schedule, however, as the day progresses, make an effort to document how your time is spent. Think of yourself as an attorney that must bill your time, and jot down what you did at least each hour of the day, being as specific as possible. At end of the week, go through the list, and identify as many “time wasters” in your schedule as possible. Did you spend too much time on social media? Chatting with co-workers? Also look for any possible tasks that took entirely too long. Did you spend an hour or more on a task that should have taken half the time? Noticing these types of negative patterns in your time management behaviors is one of the first steps you can make to work towards improvement.

Next, you need to plan out a full week. This week will not be planned in a typical manner. You need to plan down to the minute. Every single minute should be planned down to 15-minute blocks of time. You should plan for work tasks, school tasks, travel, meal prepping, eating, exercise, shower/hygiene routines, and even sleep. TV breaks and relaxation time need to blocked off, too. Every minute of every day should have a specific place on your calendar. If your regular planner doesn’t have an hourly format, you can always print a blank online template to use for this purpose.

Once you have committed to the hourly schedule, you should stick to it as closely as possible. Any deviations should be for legitimate reasons. If someone asks you to change your plans for a reason that is urgent or is for a business or family necessity, obviously, you should consider the change. However, if the plan change is for an optional reason, you should refuse unless the change is something that benefits you or is something that you legitimately want to do. Too often, we are pressured to rearrange our schedules to help others or to make life easier for others. While it is nice to do this occasionally, if we make doing favors for others a habit, the massive amount of time it can take from our own lives is immense. As you learn to stick to a highly structured schedule, you may become frustrated, but you will soon rediscover how much time you have when you don’t waste time bouncing from task to task, and you will be happy you made the change.

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