At 10am it’s easy to thinkAs soon as you wake up in the morning with the whole day in front of you, it seems like you have plenty of time to get a million things done. That you will be able to read three chapters of one of your set texts, write 1,000 words of an essay, tidy your room, cook a healthy meal and go for a run. But by 4pm, you find that instead you‘ve watched far too many cat videos on YouTube and have only read two pages of an article.
Giving yourself an unrealistic expectation of how much you can get done in a day can only lead you up to failure. Plus, it would also be difficult to maintain this level of productivity for a long period of time – you will just end up burnt out and tired. But on the other hand if you don’t have a proper plan and aren’t strict with yourself, procrastination can creep in and stop you from achieving anything – literally everything, even small things that can be achieved with small effort.
So here are some tips on how to manage your time effectively. This is especially important now that university students are having to study at home and have more control of their time.
- Set a daily schedule
Daily schedule is about setting a schedule for the day and ensuring that you stay on top of all the things you have to get through, but also ensuring that you schedule in leisure time, time for exercise etc. Not only will it keep you on track, but it also gives you things to look forward to and means that you are more likely to schedule things into the day that aren’t only related to university.
To-do lists are a great way to keep you on task and ensure that you get the things done that you need to. Create one big to-do list and dumping it onto paper will clear your mind and ensure you aren’t spending too much time trying to remember every single thing you need to do.
Another way you can do is create Time Blocking. It’s a productivity technique for personal time management where a period of time—typically a day or week—is divided into smaller segments or blocks for specific tasks or to-dos. It integrates the function of a calendar with that of a to-do list. It is a kind of scheduling.
- Limit distractions
One of the distractions is your phone. Put it somewhere that you can’t reach and you’ll be amazed at how much you get done when you aren’t scrolling through social media every five minutes. Alternatively if it’s a must to have your phone nearby, turn off all notifications or download an app that discourages you from unlocking your phone.
Identify if there might be any other distractions such as TV, your read-in-progress book or anything else that could draw your attention away from the task at hand.
- Figure out when you are most productive
Very few people can say that they can maintain high levels of productivity for an entire day. For most people there is a window in the day when their brain is most focused, when they are less likely to succumb to distractions and when they are able to do their most productive work.
If you don’t yet know whether you’re a morning person, an afternoon person, an evening person or a night owl—maybe because you’ve spent so long working that you’ve never had the chance to consider other options. Regardless of whether it is morning, afternoon or evening, try to structure your day around this or at least tackle your trickiest tasks during the time you feel the most alert. Knowing when your best time is and planning to use that time of day for your priorities (if possible) is effective for time management.
Noted management expert, Peter Drucker, says “doing the right thing is more important than doing things right.” Doing the right thing is effectiveness; doing things right is efficiency. Focus first on effectiveness (identifying what is the right thing to do), then concentrate on efficiency (doing it right).
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