To begin managing your time you first need a clearer idea of how you now use your time.. The attached Personal Time Survey will help you to estimate how much time you currently spend in typical activities.
To get a more accurate estimate, you might keep track of how you spend your time for a week. This will help you get a better idea of how much time youíll need and will also help you identify your time wasters. But for now complete the Personal Time Survey (attached) to get an estimate.
Identify profitable and unprofitable time.
Spend a week accounting for your time. Record how you use your time.
Minimize your time commitments.
Don't take on more work than you can handle.
Limit your activities to those that fit with your personal goals and your established daily agenda.
II. How To Prioritize
Sort out what needs to be done now from what can wait until later.
Not everything needs to be done today. However, don't set aside urgent matters.
Write out a list of priorities.
Cut down on time-wasting activities.
We create many of our time problems.
Be ruthless about distractions.
Be assertive with people and things that intrude upon your personal time.
Locate information in a hurry.
Studies show that searching for and handling information can occupy 20% of a persons time.
Build a time control plan that fits your job and your own unique personality.
Make a daily agenda, check list, and a Master Schedule.
III. Making a Master Schedule
Block out exam times and any other fixed time commitments, such as work or organizational meetings.
Block out time for the basics of daily living, i.e., eating, sleeping, personal maintenance, and travel.
Plan and block out study time for each final test or paper. Some tips:
Plan at least one hour blocks for study, and schedule large blocks of time for accomplishing major projects. Take breaks!
Know your high energy and "down" times during the day and use them wisely.
Know that everything takes longer than you think it will.
Balance your activities -- schedule de-stressing times to allow yourself to unwind:
Schedule reward times for using study time effectively.
Schedule time for physical exercise and recreation.
Schedule social activities, including time for just chatting.
Keep your schedule flexible! Many experts advise allowing two hours of unscheduled time in a twenty-four hour period.
Now review your schedule: Is it realistic? Can you stick to it?
IV. Making a To Do List
Before the beginning of each week, sit down and list all of the things you need to get done in the upcoming week.
Assign tasks to given days of the week if you have a tight schedule.
Consult your master schedule if assigning tasks to given days. Check your month calendar to plan ahead for large tasks.
Prioritize tasks for each item on your list:
Must get done,
Should get done
Carry your To Do list with you during the day. Consult it when needed to make sure that you at least complete your "musts" during the course of the day.
Review your list at the end of the day. Reward yourself for tasks completed on schedule and make any adjustments needed during the rest of the week.
V. Break the Procrastination Habit.
The cycle usually is as follows:
I'll start early this time - hopeful
I've got to start soon-early start time has passed, anxiety builds.
What if I don't start? Worrying sets in.
I'm doing everything but what I need to do: paint baseboards
I can't enjoy anything: many reach for distracting, immediate rewarding activities.
They try to enjoy themselves but the shadow of procrastinating looms over them.
Any enjoyment turns to guilt, apprehension and disgust.
I hope no one finds out. Excuses are made. Friends are avoided.
There's still time. Holding on to the thought that a magical solution will appear.
There's something wrong with me. No brains, or courage, or luck.
Here I am, a failure again-negative self message that keeps the pattern alive. This will be recalled for the next procrastination issue.
Examine your pattern of procrastination
Think of a situation in which you recently procrastinated
Were you afraid of something?
Did you try to accomplish too much? High expectations?
Was there something that you were angry or dissatisfied about?
Was someone looking over your shoulder?
Did you begin a project and give up before you completed it?
Look for common themes or patterns in the above.
Identify the following:
External consequences of procrastination
car ran out of gas
garage filled with unfinished project
Internal consequences of procrastination
Identify your areas of procrastination
Household: shopping, cleaning etc.
Work: on time for meetings, decision making, report writing, confronting someone, meet with boss