Bianca Paola Gonzalez
How to Manage Your Time Efficiently
Managing your time can free you from being overwhelmed with work and these 11 tips will help you do it.
What’s up, everyone? I hope you had an awesome weekend!
Oh gosh! Today I have my first class of the semester at 7:00 a.m., so I’ll let you know how that goes next week.🥴 I can’t wait to implement the 14 Tips for Surviving an Online Semester that I shared with you last week. Oh, and I'm proud to announce that Finding Our Beat has its very own Instagram page. I'd appreciate it if you go and show it some love by clicking here and follow it.
On another note, when I was making my schedule for the upcoming semester, one of you messaged me sharing the struggles he’s been having with time management ever since he got out of high school. He said something very interesting, “Now that I’m in university, I have so much freedom that I don’t know how to manage it.” His comment reminded me of a virtual dance workshop I gave last semester to a few college students. They expressed how difficult it was for them to be productive during quarantine because, even though they had more time, they lacked the motivation and the will to fulfill their duties, thus leaving everything to the last minute. I thought I'd help by sharing some of the tips that have helped me manage my time effectively during school.
1. Create a schedule that works for you
For starters, having a schedule gives us structure which ultimately leads to having a routine, or developing a lifestyle, where you'll know when you're supposed to wake up, go to class or work, exercise, and when to complete other responsibilities. I don’t believe a routine has to be boring or the same as everyone else’s, though. That’s why I emphasized that it should work for who you are. Be flexible with it as well. If having the same daily routine bores you and you can switch it up, go for it.
2. Set specific days for specific tasks
When creating your schedule, I recommend you set specific days for specific tasks. On the schedule I told you I worked on, I set out which days of the week I’ll focus on school, which days I’ll work on the blog, which days I’ll tackle Farmasi (which I’ll share more with you soon), as well as house chores, and others. That gives me the feeling that I’m not stuck in the same day everyday.
3. Use a calendar
Having a calendar can help you keep track of your deadlines, appointments, and events. Before COVID-19 I used to be very anti-technology and preferred having a physical planner. Even though I still love having it physically, now that I’m spending more time on the computer I have easy access to an online calendar. I fell in love with Google Calendar and it’s great because you can have it at the tip of your fingers through the mobile app, which is very convenient.
4. Schedule Mini Breaks
It might sound silly, but scheduling breaks of at least 15-20 minutes between tasks can help you increase productivity and prevent burnouts. Instead, it enhances your focus and creativity by allowing your brain to rest and recharge. Be mindful about your breaks and use them wisely.
5. Plan Ahead
Planning what you need to do in advance can help you avoid wasting time by thinking of what you need to do. You can go about it in two ways. First, you can plan your entire week ahead, like I tend to do on Sundays and then make changes as they come up throughout the week. Second, you can make your to do list either the night before or the morning of the day you’re starting. That way, you create an outline that keeps you on track during the day.
Time blocking is when you set a specific time to do your tasks. For example, waking up at 6:30 a.m. Having breakfast at 7:00 a.m., going to class at 8:30 a.m., and so on and so forth. By having your day broken down it keeps you on track and aware of when you need to finish one task in time to start the next one. Always remember to schedule your breaks. That’s very important.
7. Work when you’re most productive
You’ve probably heard that the “best” time to study is in the morning when your brain is sharp and fresh after a good night's sleep, right? The truth is there really isn’t a general “best time” for everyone. We all have different moments of the day when we feel our happiest, most energized, and most productive. However, the earlier you wake up and start your day, the more hours your day seems to have and that's always a bonus. Know your brain and your body and find your best time to work.
8. Start with the hardest and most important task first
Since you’ll have all of your deadlines on your calendar, you’ll know what you need to get done first. I personally like to start with the hardest task first because they will probably take more time and I’ll get it out of the way sooner.
The hardest tasks are the ones we dread the most. We keep putting them off thinking they’re going to disappear, but guess what. They won’t. Haha! You still have to do them, but if you leave them to the last minute you'll dread it even more. Instead, get them out of the way and have yourself a walk in the park, metaphorically speaking (or literally if you wear a mask).
9. Focus on one task at a time
In last week’s blog post I briefly mentioned how multitasking can often be a distraction. According to a study done by David Strayer, a professor of psychology at the University of Utah, only 2% of people can multitask. They’re known as “supertaskers.” Other research suggests that multitasking is a myth and what we really do is switch tasks. It is best to focus your mind and energy on a single task to guarantee a better outcome, rather than switching from one task to another. If you get tired after doing the same thing for so long, you can switch, but set a reminder to finish the first task at some point.
10. Put your phone away
Having an effective and productive day is highly influenced on your attachment to your phone. Checking the time on our phone can only take a second, but if your gaze shifts to your notifications, you can spend minutes or even hours responding to messages on WhatsApp, getting up to date on Twitter and Facebook, and scrolling mindlessly through Instagram without even realizing the time you spent doing so. That interrupts your work flow, while making you have less time for your duties during the day. So, turn your phone off, put it in silent or airplane mode, or leave it in another room until it’s time for your break. That goes with other distractions you may have. Try minimizing them as much as you can as it can really take away time from your most important work.
11. Find inspiration
Find something, a person, quote, podcast, Ted Talk, song, or even a list of your goals that inspire you to be productive and manage your time efficiently. Ask yourself these questions: What motivates me? Who do I admire the most and why? What type of person do I want to become? In what ways does not fulfilling my duties affect me? By answering these questions honestly, you may find motivation to get👏stuff👏done!👏
That’s it friends! I’m rooting for you to get better at managing your time to fulfill your responsibilities. They might seem rigid and as too many steps to follow, but little changes each day can go a long way. Plus, with time they can become a way of life. Let me know if these tips helped you. Remember that’s all about discipline and committing to yourself and your goals. Also, be sure to check out the tips I gave you last week for you to have a successful online semester and don’t forget to follow @findingourbeat on Instagram!
Have fun finding your beat to dance to the rhythm of the online semester! Until next week!