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Time management (blog post)

18.03.13

This blog post gives you a few tips on how to manage your time effectively so you can do more of what you love.

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You’re probably feeling the pressure right now. You’ve got study and homework, sports practices, rehearsals and just a ton of other things going on. This is when time management becomes important.

Imagine your perfect day (and plan towards it!)

What would your ideal day be like? What would you like to have accomplished, who would you like to have hung out with? When would you like to finish your work, and when would you like to sleep? As an example, my ideal day would consist of waking up at around 7 o clock, being able to practice saxophone, go for a decent run, finish my homework in less than an hour, have a 2 hour block to study and get ahead of class, and then finish all my work at 9 so I can catch up with my mates, and then read a few chapters of a book before bed at 11pm. Once you have an idea of what you want, you can plan to achieve it. It’s crucial to make this your utmost priority though; if you just let your perfect day get pushed around to fit in everything, well… you’re not really living the life you really want to, are you? But that’s out of the scope of this blog.

The Get-Things-Done list

When you have a lot of things on your plate, you can’t help but start stressing out over the ridiculous amount of things you have to do. This is where the GTD List kicks in. Always carry a diary with you to write down the crazy thoughts that come into your head, and also what you need to get done that day. When you get home, write everything on your list of things to do. Generally, there isn’t as much to accomplish as you think there was, so you’ll feel a lot more relaxed. It also helps with efficiency: You can jump straight onto the first or more important task on your list, then work your way down.

A handy tip: Split your GTD list into ones which won’t take much time at all and items which do require a significant chunk of your time. When you’re knocking things off, do the significant items –the small ones give you a sense of achievement but you’re really just wasting time. Set apart something like half an hour and knock off all of them in one fell swoop.

The weekly schedule 

You know that timetable which your mum always got you to make when you were a kid? I know I hated it, but now that I’m incredibly busy, it is so helpful in getting things done. I have my weekly template attached. First, fill out the compulsory blocks: school, sports practices, lessons, dinner, and even times to chill with friends and Facebook! Also put in the habitual activities you have (preferably at the same time each day). Examples would be practising a musical instrument, running, writing a blog, whatever you generally do. Having it in a regular time helps you build a habit meaning it is easier and quicker to get into, and you’ll be more efficient! Next, sort out exactly what you want to accomplish this week. Mine was writing this article, making notes for biology, studying for an upcoming test, reading an autobiography, preparing for a meeting. You should have a pretty good idea how long these activities will take –I like to work in 1-2 hour blocks so I set a time for each of these activities to do after dinner. Finally, fill in the little spaces between activities which you can’t do any substantial work with the small things you have to do –your GTD list, homework, reading the news. The key for the schedule is to keep things realistic, and to have no block empty. Fill it with ‘Relax: Watch Game of Thrones’ if you must, but NEVER leave it blank. If you’re that type of person, you can also create a goal for you to focus on each week. The hard thing after that is keeping motivated –once you’re done with a task, it’s all about forcing yourself to go straight to the next one.

By Keniel Yao

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