Happy Hump Day, y’all!
Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day? In college, I especially found this to be true. From chapter meetings to classes and everything in between, it was hard to find a spare spot of time on my agenda. Even in the “grown up” world, it’s hard to balance work, play, and sleep (???) with the ease that seems to be expected.
I’ve been really lucky to have lived such a full life at 21 years old. I love trying new things and growing, but without learning to manage my time, it just wouldn’t be possible. I’ve always told people that if I could come back as a college grad and teach a class to new students, it would be in time management. But since I haven’t found myself at a lectern this Wednesday, I’ll be sharing my top five tips with you! ;)Rule #1: Set your priorities. We all do so many things, without taking enough time to think about why we do them.
Why are we at our job? Why are we binge-watching House of Cards? Why are we up at 1 AM scrolling through Facebook?
This may require some real thinking and soul-searching, but really take a moment to figure out who you are and what you’re about. That should be the end-all-be-all of most of your activities. Each day, I set my top three priorities, whether they be personal or professional, and think back to how they tie into my main mantra, so to speak.
Rule #2: Strive for balance. The truth is, everything in our lives either gives us energy or requires energy. We need a good balance of both in order to prevent burnout. So, if watching House of Cards recharges your batteries from a long day of meetings, go for it! It’s things that we think are relaxing but really drain us (ie stalking an ex on Instagram) that take away precious time from the things we truly love. Write down five things you just plain old love doing, and try and make time for at least one of them each day.
Rule #3: Budget your time. Your time, like your money, is a very valuable resource—and I’ve found that tracking it makes me a lot wiser in how I spend it. I usually write down what I plan on doing for the day, and then I estimate how long it’s going to take me to do when I’m focused, but not rushed. Using this, I’ll then plan out my day, scheduling breaks and other small tasks as needed. I find that I do my best work in 45 minute increments, even if I break a larger task down into smaller areas. And yes—I even schedule my free time! It really helps me to know that each block of time is designated to a specific task, and helps me to maximize those moments.
A sample morning schedule…
- Answer Emails: 20 minutes
- Work on first part of project: 45 minutes
- Take a break and walk around the block: 15 minutes
- Work on second part of project: 45 minutes
- Conference Call: 30 minutes
- Coffee run: 15 minutes
- Start on second project: 45 minutes
- Lunch and run break: 60 minutes
Rule #4: Identify a system that works (for you!): Some people work best by setting reminders on their phone. Others carry to-do lists on scraps of paper tucked in pockets. Whatever your style, find a system of organizing your day that you can actually manage. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’m obsessed with my DayDesigner and carry it around religiously, but I also use Clear for reminders throughout the day.
Rule #5: Show yourself a little grace. As much as the above four tips are meant to help you achieve more than you thought possible, realize that life happens, every single day. Things might take longer than you anticipate, or little interruptions may come up. Cherish those things as a reminder that we are humans, not machines, and that to be imperfect is to be.
What are your favorite time management tips and tricks? Share them in the comments, and as always, thanks for joining me today!