How to Manage Your Time

I. Where Does Your Time Go?

  • 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.
    1. Identify profitable and unprofitable time.
    2. Spend a week accounting for your time. Record how you use your time.
  • Minimize your time commitments.
    1. Don't take on more work than you can handle.
    2. 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.
    1. Not everything needs to be done today. However, don't set aside urgent matters.
    2. Write out a list of priorities.
  • Cut down on time-wasting activities.
    1. We create many of our time problems.
  • Be ruthless about distractions.
    1. Be assertive with people and things that intrude upon your personal time.
  • Locate information in a hurry.
    1. 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.
    1. 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:
    1. Plan at least one hour blocks for study, and schedule large blocks of time for accomplishing major projects. Take breaks!
    2. 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:
    1. Schedule reward times for using study time effectively.
    2. Schedule time for physical exercise and recreation.
    3. 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.
    1. Prioritize tasks for each item on your list:
      1. Must get done,
      2. Should get done
      3. Could complete
  • 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:
    1. I'll start early this time - hopeful
    2. I've got to start soon-early start time has passed, anxiety builds.
    3. What if I don't start? Worrying sets in.
    4. I'm doing everything but what I need to do: paint baseboards
    5. I can't enjoy anything: many reach for distracting, immediate rewarding activities.
    6. They try to enjoy themselves but the shadow of procrastinating looms over them.
    7. Any enjoyment turns to guilt, apprehension and disgust.
    8. I hope no one finds out. Excuses are made. Friends are avoided.
    9. There's still time. Holding on to the thought that a magical solution will appear.
    10. There's something wrong with me. No brains, or courage, or luck.
    11. 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
    1. Think of a situation in which you recently procrastinated
    2. Were you afraid of something?
    3. Did you try to accomplish too much? High expectations?
    4. Was there something that you were angry or dissatisfied about?
    5. Was someone looking over your shoulder?
    6. Did you begin a project and give up before you completed it?
  • Look for common themes or patterns in the above.
    1. Identify the following:
      1. External consequences of procrastination
        1. car ran out of gas
        2. garage filled with unfinished project
      2. Internal consequences of procrastination
        1. embarrassment
        2. anxiety
        3. depression
        4. physical exhaustion
      3. Identify your areas of procrastination
        1. Household: shopping, cleaning etc.
        2. Work: on time for meetings, decision making, report writing, confronting someone, meet with boss
        3. School: attending class, studying, returning library books
        4. Personal care: exercise, losing weight, hygiene, new clothes, pursuing hobbies
        5. Social relationships: calling friends, visiting relatives expressing appreciation, giving parties, ending unsatisfying relationship
        6. Finances: filing income tax forms, calling bank about a problem, paying parking tickets, saving money, balancing your checkbook
  • Use other people's time to your advantage
    1. Learn to delegate. You can't do it all yourself!
  • Be creative with your use of time
    1. The traditional way of doing something may not be the most efficient and only way.
  • Add hours to your time budget by working smarter, not harder.

Other things you can do for peek performance

  1. Set objectives for your classes and job.
  2. Develop a plan to meet the objective.
  3. Get enough sleep
  4. Eat well
  5. Learn good study habits
  6. Don't be afraid to ask for help

Things I can do to manage my time:

  1. Keep a time log
  2. Evaluate the results
  3. Make a list of fixed commitments and flexible commitments
  4. List everything you need to do on paper/update the list
  5. Assign priorities (A, B, C)
  6. Buy a daily calendar to plan your hours, days, months.
  7. Divide your work into manageable segments
  8. Don't lose sight of your long term goals.
  9. Know your peek performance times/high energy and low energy times
  10. Control interruptions: drop-in visitors, phone calls, TV
  11. Have a quiet study area
  12. Learn to say "no"
  13. Use "waiting" time effectively
  14. Tackle most difficult subjects/areas first
  15. Avoid perfectionism
  16. Know your instructions/learn good listening skills
  17. Take care of yourself
  18. Don't over commit
  19. Reward yourself