I’m sure we all know the feeling. You have a list of things to do or errands you know you need to get done, but you’re not sure how to fit them all into your schedule, and you end up taking longer than you should have.
As a student enrolled in classes during the day, this problem occasionally pops up for me and getting things done as quickly as possible can sometimes be a challenge. Fortunately, there are quite a few methods one may use to help mitigate this issue as much as possible. Efficient time management is an extremely useful skill to have — the sooner you develop it, the better it will serve you.
Here are five methods I’ve found to be incredibly helpful in improving time management, in no particular order.
1. Get enough sleep
Arguably one of the most important tips for life in general, getting enough sleep is essential to clarity in thought and action. Cementing time in your schedule for a good night’s rest can also be helpful as a foundation for you to structure the rest of the day around. Consistently getting at least eight hours of sleep a night has other health benefits as well, such as increased cognitive function, reduced fatigue, and improved metabolism.
2. Set reminders
We all forget things, especially important things, like appointments and essential errands. Mapping out your day by making a basic schedule can go a long way in helping you remember what needs to be done that day. Set smaller reminders for yourself as well, in the form of sticky notes, phone alerts, and alarms. If necessary, leave voice recordings for yourself through voicemail or notifications.
3. Prioritize important tasks
Some tasks are more important than others and require taking precedence over smaller errands. When planning your schedule, be sure to make time for longer and more difficult responsibilities and try to focus on completing them first while you have more energy. If a task is taking up too much time at once, split it up over the course of a day and allocate time for it, if possible.
4. Account for time of day
When planning your schedule, it’s important to take the time of day into account. Say you need to go to the store today, and you’re trying to decide what time to go. What time best accounts for your other responsibilities? When does the store close? At what time will the store be the least crowded? Thinking about obstacles like these will help you lay out the best schedule and increase your overall efficiency.
5. Take breaks
Perseverance may be the key to success, but no one is a machine. Taking a few short breaks throughout your day can do wonders for productivity in the long run. If you find yourself getting frustrated with a task, don’t be afraid to take a five to ten-minute break to get some water or a snack, reorganize your thoughts, and calm down. This is even more important after the completion of a difficult task. When you’ve accomplished something difficult, reward yourself by taking a short (five-to ten-minute) break to celebrate. This attitude helps form habits in your brain by incentivizing hard work with a sense of accomplishment, which will help you become a more efficient worker.
These five methods are by no means the only ones out there. There are plenty of other ways to manage time effectively and get into the mindset of being an efficient worker. The methods listed here are simply what I use daily and work well for me.
With that being said, I wish you all luck and success. May your focus be sharp, and your resolve unbreakable.