Today’s post is a very exciting one! I’ve always wanted to bring in people from my life because of how inspiration and motivational they are to me. Thus, I want to start a new series with guest posts surrounding a topic of the day. Most will probably center around advice, experiences and their lil’ thoughts. Before I ramble on, I want to introduce today’s topic: time management. I have written so much about this topic myself and have given my own thoughts, but I wanted to share other people’s thoughts and advice. These guests I have invited to the blog today all have different aspects to share in terms of how to manage your time, combat procrastination, to stay as focused as possible and to achieve productivity.
Productivity and time management go hand in hand. However, sustaining motivation could be hard sometimes. I found myself motivated when I am under good circumstances. Good news often helps me become more engaged with the tasks I have to do. Yet, it is not always sunshine and rainbows – there are days (frequent enough) where I feel defeated and frustrated. Those are the days when I feel like the world is going against me and I just want to be in bed and not do anything. But that is totally okay. In fact, knowing it is okay to not be on 100% all the time and realize normal people go through these feelings is the first step to become more productive and motivated.
That being said, understanding yourself should be the first time you do before you look into how to manage your time properly. When are you most productive? and what kind of environment do you work best? Answers to those questions should help you figure you when are you going to be most efficient. For example, I found myself most productive in the morning when I am alone. Therefore, I try to study during that time or do the most important work in the morning.
Assess how well you manage your time should come next. Do you get distracted easily? Or can you go in and study for hours? If you get distracted easily, block a period of time to dedicate to one particular project and force yourself to only concentrate on that. Spending too much time on folding laundry? Set a countdown alarm to force yourself to fold your clothes faster.
Taking some time to plan things out is also instrumental. I try to plan my workout schedule, mark all my study plans, due days on Sunday afternoons. I will try to follow my schedule so I don’t get overwhelmed. However, we don’t exist in a linear world where things happen on a schedule. Things do pop up and will completely mess up your schedule. That is okay. You might not be able to do everything on your list. Don’t get frustrated. Sometimes, we don’t give ourselves enough credit – think about how much you have done and be proud of it.
Do things early! If you know you have an assignment due on Friday but you also want to go out, finish it by Thursday. You do not have to comprise your time, nor the quality of your life. I try to set up an early deadline for everything I do. If a paper is due on Friday, start thinking about how much you can write weeks ahead. Finish it couple days before, so you still have time to make sure it is perfect.
Lastly, I also want to stress the importance of work/school life balance. You shouldn’t always be working. Dedicate your time to your friends and families. Check in with yourself to make sure you are doing okay. We are all busy people, but not all busy people take good care of themselves. Do not put your physical and mental health on pause, for anything. Don’t just be someone who works, but that person who works smart and well.
It alway seems as if there’s never enough time, like time is running away! As someone with a full schedule, I often find myself flooded with assignments but never enough time to accomplish these tasks. Regretfully, I tend to procrastinate and rush to cram assignments in at the last second. I have progressively learned to stay productive by putting my work first and giving every minute a purpose. Personally, I work for a period of 50 minutes, free of distractions such as my phone and focusing on the task in hand. Following the 50 minutes, I like to reward myself with a 10 minute break, watching Casey Neistat’s latest upload, stretching, or simply shoving food in my face. I found that sticking to my plan not only completed my assignments, but significantly reduced my stress level and granted me more time to sleep (who doesn’t want more sleep?). My system may not necessarily work for you, but it is about finding a system that harnesses the delicate balance between getting the job done and also rewarding yourself as motivation.
The key to time management, at least for myself, is knowing how much I can juggle on my plate overall. There’s nothing like overextending yourself on a myriad of activities, whether it’s taking on one too many part-time jobs/internships or even a course load of classes you won’t be able to effectively handle and learn in. Because trust me, I’ve been there, and it is so not worth all the sleepless nights and the never-ending tears that leave my face as dry as the desert the next day…
The same goes for your social life as well. Don’t feel the need to schedule in all your coffee dates and dinners with friends within a span of one week, if it is starting to feel like you have to squeeze every last ounce of you and your minutes to fit everyone into your life.
The goal of time management is to be able to accomplish everything you need to get done, while being able to be fully present in your class, your job, and your social activities. You may even discover time in your schedule to take a new spin class at your local gym or that movie you’ve been meaning to see. Therefore, the product of your ability to manage your time as a useful organizational skill in life can lead to an abundance of well, time.
Of course, as someone stepping into the world of “adult-ing”, I have found there are countless of unavoidable tasks that can be as easily overlooked (like the wifi bill currently sitting on my kitchen counter). This is where lists and calendars come into play. Figure out whether you like to hand write all the things you need to do, and whether Post-It notes suffice or if it needs to be kept in a notebook (check out Jenny’s bullet journal post!). Or maybe you’re the type of person that likes to organize their life on a handy-dandy little thing called a phone, in which you can set reminders of important events to attend to. These details make all the difference, and once you figure out what works for you, time management will be just a little more smooth-sailing!
Last but not least, be flexible. Instead of scheduling every last minute task into your calendar, carve a space in your schedule, such as 3 hours, in which you can run all those errands in one go. If you miss one thing on your list or you let yourself procrastinate for a week, don’t beat yourself up about it. Life continues, and you can be in control of what happens next.
I am a pretty easy-going person. I like to have the type of attitude where if I don’t get something done, then I will just get it done the next day; it’s not a big deal and it’s not worth stressing over. This type of attitude doesn’t always work when there are set deadlines for assignments though and with multiple classes it can be hard to juggle everything. Having a routine is really the best thing for me when it comes to completing work. I usually have a cup of coffee, my favorite blanket, and just sit down and get to work. Once I start, it’s easy to keep working. It’s always important to take breaks though! After an hour or two, once I notice I’m starting to fade or get distracted, I usually get up for a little and then return to it again.
Time management has never been my strong suit as I tend to procrastinate by nature. However, as a college student, I am forced to learn how to manage my time efficiently while still having the full college experience. The issue of finding a balance between studying, homework, exploring LA and going to games has been something I have been trying to figure out ever since fall quarter. Just this quarter, I found out how useful it is to make a list of things I have to do on a sticky note. It gives me motivation to get work done and the feeling of crossing off items on my list is so satisfying. With the discovery of Flora, an app, I have learned to stop checking my phone so often and remove any distractions it may cause. College has made me realize the importance of priorities and how crucial it is to have a plan that one can follow; it keeps me on track, while allowing me to track my progress.
I would say the keys to time management are organization and execution. Whenever you are given a task, I find it most helpful to write out a schedule, so you have some sense of organization. Do things that you are more comfortable with first, then tackle some of the more challenging tasks. I like this order because you make progress quickly in the beginning, which motivates you. And I would say the most important thing to me is to make sure you do not stay stuck on a particular task for a long period of time. Take a break or transition to another task, so that you are wasting as little time as possible.
I hope you all enjoyed all of these viewpoints and advice. Thank you to the guests who have contributed to this post! I view each one of you as special and so motivational towards my own productivity. It’s amazing to me how different people are able to approach time management differently and to stay focused. I personally recommend to follow all of these amazing people’s advice, cause they are all FABULOUS people. If you have tips on time management, productivity and other related topics, leave me a comment below!
A million and one thanks for reading — until my next lil’ thought then!