One of the most common wishes amongst students at all levels is simply for more hours in a given day. While we all know that isn’t possible, there are a few key time management tips one can follow to help make it feel as if there were.
Complete Your Least Favorite Tasks First
While many time management sources say to complete the most important tasks first there is actually a better method that works in favor of time management. If you’re trying to cut down on the time it takes to complete a group of tasks, working on them from least to most favorite will actually speed up the time in which you get them done. When working on a task you don’t enjoy, you tend to find reasons to take breaks and accept distractions from the outside world. Likewise, if you start your process with tasks you enjoy, it’s likely you’ll find excuses to delay getting to the less favorable project. By doing so, you actually end up adding onto the total time it takes you to finish all projects at hand.
Stay Off Facebook
With the average user spending almost an hour per day on Facebook staying off Facebook while working can quickly lead to effective time management. Consider having a friend or roommate change your Facebook password. After doing so, they can only give it back after you’ve shown that you’ve completed all your work. As we’ll mention in further detail below, Facebook can also be used as a great reward for reaching certain milestones within your scope of work.
Reward Yourself, Within Reason
Have lots of work to get done? Break it up into chunks and reward yourself when you reach appropriate and well-deserved benchmarks. Constantly having a goal or reward to work towards can motivate you to work quickly throughout your process. Ultimately, this rewards you with more time upon completion of all tasks as well. These rewards can vary based on how much you have completed from a simple break, snack, time on Facebook, or any other favorite activity of yours. Despite popular belief, successful time management can be quite rewarding.
Get Enough Sleep
While sleep is hard to get for students, getting sleep is actually one key time management skills many overlook. Not sleeping at least seven hours per night has both physical and mental. Not sleeping at least seven hours per night has both physical and mental implications on the body, including inability to focus. That being said, lack of sleep can cost you more time in the end when working on a project. For example, losing one hour of sleep could cause you to work slower and with not as much focus. As a result, an hour project on a good night’s sleep could take you at times up to two hours to complete when tired.
When you have your plate full of tasks and projects to complete, making a list can not only help you stay organized, but also to stay motivated. Being able to check something off a list is rewarding to your brain and also rewards time management planning. Likewise you then have some form of visual representation of what you still have left to complete. This list getting less and less has been proven to increase motivation, especially nearing the end of your list.
Also, check out our article about greatest leaderships skills of highly effective leaders!
Night Owl Or Morning Lark?
One of many time management techniques that is often overlooked is figuring out the time of day when you are most productive. For reasons both biological and reasons unknown, some people simply function better at morning or night. To the contrary, they are nowhere near as productive at the opposite time of day. Night owls have often been noted to say that knowing their day cannot end until their work is done is wonderful motivation. Likewise, many morning larks enjoy getting their tasks at hand out of the way at the beginning of the day, so they don’t have the looming feeling of work to be done in their minds all day.
Don’t Stress The Small Stuff
Many people have the nature to get hung up and fixate over very small, often unimportant details. If you are struggling with an idea, concept, or any other entity of your work, give it a break after five minutes, move on, and come back to it later. Not only are you wasting time, but coming back to it offers a fresh perspective that often solves it. If you are one to often fret over details, this simple time management tip could save you hours on a large project.
In other words, put off procrastinating – don’t do it – ever. For some reason, we as humans, especially students, know procrastination is a horrible idea and one of the worst time management techniques, but still continue do it time after time. Not only are we pressed for time, but we also often don’t end up creating our best work when under a time crunch. If you are a given a deadline in advance, pace yourself and complete a little bit of the work each and every day in order to get overwhelmed or end up having to procrastinate. If you have lots of free time and not much work to do, even consider getting ahead to save yourself a future headache. Proper time management skills along with not procrastinating can lead to a productive and stress-free lifestyle
Get Work Done Elsewhere
One of the easiest time management strategies for college students on a large campus is going elsewhere to get their work done. When we become too familiar or too comfortable in one place, our minds tend to see it as less of a work space. This allows us to get distracted and drift away from our work easily. By constantly switching up the physical locations in which we work, we keep our minds fresh and provide ourselves new environments to source both inspiration and productivity.
Keep A Schedule
As much as humanly possible, keep yourself and your body on a schedule. Time management not only applies to our minds and the completion of tasks, but also to our bodies as a whole. Be that a class schedule, a sleep schedule, or a meal schedule – these routines help keep your body accustomed to your lifestyle. If you set a certain time each and every day that is designated to getting work done, you and your brain will easily become more focused and more in ‘work mode’ as you to continue to build and keep that schedule. If you ever find that you need to deviate from a set schedule, doing that gradually will help your body and its processes shift with you so you don’t lose any of the benefits you gained by establishing the schedule.