Let’s load up on some time-management techniques, become time management ninjas, and conquer each minute of those 168 hours.
The best way to start is to set some goals. These act as reminders of what we want to achieve and why we want to finish all of these assignments.
Set long-term and short-term goals
“Short-term” and “long-term” vary from person to person. For me, a long-term goal would be for a semester, and a short-term goal would be for a week. Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond how difficult the coming week may be and forget about what’s motivating you to work so hard. This is where the long-term goals you set come in. They help you understand why you need to power through that stressful week.
Make your goals SMART
Goals help you define your priorities and are the most basic step to plan for success. SMART is an abbreviation of the characteristics your goals should have: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. “Read databases” isn’t a goal that will help you get that A, but “Read chapter 1 from Databases textbook by 3pm” will help you understand what exactly needs to be done and when.
Once those great goals are set, you need to define what you need to do to achieve them. To figure this out, you might want to prioritize.
Use the Eisenhower method
This method includes making a matrix of four squares, with columns labelled “urgent” and “non-urgent,” and rows labelled “important” and “not important.” This little grid is massively helpful for knowing what exactly you need to do when there are a billion assignments coming your way.
The items that are urgent and important need to be done ASAP, so they should be your most important goals. The items that aren’t urgent but important need to be done eventually, but you can decide when you want to finish them. Items that are urgent but not important can be delegated instead. Lastly, items that aren’t important or urgent shouldn’t be a goal for you, so don’t waste your time on them.
We have a finite amount of time to finish everything, so we need to figure out when to complete those prioritized, SMART goals. The secret sauce to this is in the way you schedule things. So, grab that calendar and schedule in your commitments like this:
Block out time for fixed commitments
Fixed commitments are fixed periods of time where you know you need to do something. These include classes, work shifts, and society meetings. Basically, it’s anything where you know you’ll have to be at a certain place to complete a certain task.
Block out time for flexible commitments
Flexible commitments are ones that you know you need to do, but have no specified time. They include things like lunch, sleep, and laundry.
Block out time for every other commitment
This includes everything else, like assignments, Netflix, and going out with friends. Everything else that needs to be done to accomplish your goals should be put into your calendar now.
These techniques form the basis of any successful routine, but they won’t work unless you actually stick to your plans and goals. Once you finish your day and accomplish that goal, don’t forget to reward yourself, because you deserve it!
If you want to learn more time management skills, check out the FREE workshops that Dal offers on time management, procrastination, and goal setting every week.