Taming The Time Management Monster

Taming The Time Management Monster

Master the giant pain in the ass that is time management.
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I think one of the biggest challenges in life, whether you’re a student, working a career, a parent, or any combination of the three, is mastering the concept of time management. Unless you’re born into wealth, time management is integral to living a successful life.

You need to understand how to differentiate between tasks that can be revisited later and tasks that require you to reschedule others. In other words, you need to know how to prioritize. Here are a few tips and tools that I’ve found useful over the years to help you do so.

Calendar Alerts

Thank god for smartphones. I use mine for nearly all my organizational needs. And the number one app I use for those needs is my calendar app. If you have a Google account and use it most for your personal or professional computing needs, grab Google calendar. The UI (user interface) is user-friendly and intuitive.

I actually just started using my Samsung Galaxy default calendar app, which is just as good, to avoid clutter. If you’re old school bust out the paper calendar. Grab one that speaks to you. Random side note- in your office, on your phone, wherever you are- surround yourself with things you truly love. It’ll make mundane tasks like checking your calendar to see what chores are up ahead a little brighter.

Back to the point- use your calendar, if you don’t already, to store events like appointments, social outings, bill due dates, vacations, or article deadlines. Remember when setting your alert to give yourself some extra time if you need it. Sometimes I set up to three alerts for one event. This allows you to put these events out of your mind completely, freeing up your short-term memory and enhancing your long-term memory.

Timers

Again, thank god for smart phones. You run of the mill clock app has two wonderful time management tools, an alarm and a timer. I only use my alarm in the traditional sense- to get up for work every morning. But, I use the timer for everything else. When I call in a pickup order for takeout I set a timer. When I take lunch at work I set a timer.

If I’m trying to clean up before I go out somewhere, but I told whoever that I’m leaving in ten minutes, I set a timer. You get the idea. If you need to do something in x number of minutes, hours, whatever, set a timer. Like with calendar alerts, this frees up your short-term memory. Setting a timer also avoids wasting time and negates losing track of time.

To-Do Lists

Creating a to-do list allows you to plan your day in advance. Planning your day in advance allows you to utilize your time in the wisest, most productive way possible. I used to use my memo app to create to-do lists but recently came across the Microsoft app To-Do. Microsoft’s To-Do is much better suited than the memo app because it allows you to create multiple to-do lists with notes.

Each item on the to-do list can be checked off with one tap, creating a check mark next to the completed task and crossing out the task itself, much like you would do on a pen and paper to-do list. The beats having to go into your memo and having to manually erase the task you’ve completed. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s just faster and more efficient.

Plus, now I can use my memo app for long-term crap that doesn’t really belong in my calendar and isn’t a short-term to-do list, like an ongoing grocery list, a membership number, or an idea for an article. And finally, my last go-to for time management and organization.

Whiteboards

You can get these guys at Target for cheap. They’re magnetic or stand-up and come in whatever size you need. Mine isn’t that big and it’s on my fridge, which is the first thing I see when I walk in the door of my apartment. I also love food, so I’m in that area a lot. Make sure you place your whiteboard in an area that you frequent.

I use this tool for long-term tasks that don’t have a due date, daily reminders, or mantras that help me stayed focused. For example, I have “SCHOLARSHIP” written on mine right now. I want to apply for one. I don’t have to, and although there’s a deadline to apply by it’s not really a pressing issue for me. I also have “DIET” with “GYM: M + W + FRI” underneath (I like to write in caps on the whiteboard because it grabs my attention).

Like the scholarship, these tasks don’t have a due date and aren’t really required of me. But I want them there, so I can think about them every day. “DIET” and “GYM” have been on my whiteboard for about four months. I changed my eating habits two weeks ago and started back at the gym yesterday (4/9/18 Monday). Lastly, I have two mantras on there: “Make It Happen!” at the top of the board and “MINIMALISM” at the bottom.

Again, these have no due date and don’t even need to be done. But, they are still tasks and they are just as important (actually more important in a personal matter) than the Calendar Alert of paying my credit card bill on time. The only difference is priority level in regard to time.

These are four tools that I relentlessly use in my every day life to ensure that I’m getting the most time out of my day, every day. As a student, professional, parent, or any combination of the three, you’re constantly bombarded with miscellaneous deadlines that can be a nightmare to wrap your head around. Hopefully the tips I’ve shared here from my own life experience can help you to overcome and master the giant pain in the ass that is time management.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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11 Things Psychology Majors Hear That Drive Them Crazy

No pun intended.
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We've all been there. You're talking to a new acquaintance, or a friend of your parents, or whoever. And then, you get the dreaded question.

"So what are you studying in school?"

Cue the instant regret of picking Psychology as your major, solely for the fact that you are 99.9% likely to receive one of the slightly comical, slightly cliche, slightly annoying phrases listed below. Don't worry though, I've included some responses for you to use next time this comes up in conversation. Because it will.

Quick side note, these are all real-life remarks that I've gotten when I told people I was a psych major.

Here we go.

1. So are you, like, analyzing me right now?


Well, I wasn't. But yeah. Now I am.

2. Ugh so jealous! You picked the easy major.


"Lol" is all I have to say to this one. I'm gonna go write my 15-page paper on cognitive impairment. You have fun with your five college algebra problems, though!

3. So can you tell me what you think is wrong with me? *Shares entire life story*


Don't get me wrong; I love listening and helping people get through hard times. But we can save the story about how one time that one friend said that one slightly rude comment to you for later.

4. Well, s**t, I have to be careful what I say around you.


Relax, pal. I couldn't diagnose and/or institutionalize you even if I wanted to.

5. OMG! I have the perfect first client for you! *Proceeds to vent about ex-boyfriend or girlfriend*


Possible good response: simply nod your head the entire time, while actually secretly thinking about the Ben and Jerry's carton you're going to go home and demolish after this conversation ends.

6. So you must kind of be like, secretly insane or something to be into Psychology.


Option one: try and hide that you're offended. Option two: just go with it, throw a full-blown tantrum, and scare off this individual, thereby ending this painful conversation.

7. Oh. So you want to be a shrink?


First off, please. Stop. Calling. Therapists. Shrinks. Second, that's not a psych major's one and only job option.

8. You know you have to go to grad school if you ever want a job in Psychology.


Not completely true, for the record. But I am fully aware that I may have to spend up to seven more years of my life in school. Thanks for the friendly reminder.

9. So you... want to work with like... psychopaths?


Let's get serious and completely not-sarcastic for a second. First off, I take personal offense to this one. Having a mental illness does not classify you as a psycho, or not normal, or not deserving of being treated just like anyone else on the planet. Please stop using a handful of umbrella terms to label millions of wonderful individuals. It's not cool and not appreciated.

10. So can you, like, read my mind?


It actually might be fun to say yes to this one. Try it out and see what happens. Get back to me.

11. You must be a really emotional person to want to work in Psychology.


Psychology is more than about feeling happy, or sad, or angry. Psychology is about understanding the most complex thing to ever happen to us: our brain. How it works the way it does, why it works the way it does, and how we can better understand and communicate with this incredibly mysterious, incredibly vast organ in our tiny little skull. That's what psychology is.

So keep your head up, psychology majors, and don't let anyone discourage you about choosing, what is in my opinion, the coolest career field out there. The world needs more people like us.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Short Stories On Odyssey: Roses

What's worth more than red roses?

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Five years old and a bouquet of roses rested in her hands. The audience-- clapped away her performance, giving her a standing ovation. She's smiling then because everything made sense, her happiness as bright as the roses she held in her hands.

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Twenty-one and a bundle of bills were grasped in her hands. All the men-- clapped and roared as she sold her soul, to the pole, for a dance. She's frowning now because everything went wrong, but she has to stay strong, for rich green money, is worth more than red roses.

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