While Time Management is an essential skill for adult life, you may be finding yourself more pressed to develop these skills during the COVID-19 closures. Keeping up with your online classes, trying to complete assignments on time, and managing family responsibilities is a lot to juggle! It is understandable to feel overwhelmed or stressed.
Time Management can be your best ally when you feel you are being pulled in many different directions. Time Management is the intentional and conscious planning of how you will spend your time each hour, each day, and each week. If practiced properly, quality time management strategies will make you more productive, more efficient, and more effective as you structure your time to include personal, social, familial, academic, professional, and leisure activities.
Your Take Stock in College team has listed some concrete steps below that you can take to make the most of your time, even while you are stuck at home:
Make a to-do list
The first step to any time management project is to list all the activities you hope to complete in a given time. Start with a single day. What do you need to do today academically? Do you have an online class? A homework assignment? How about in your personal life, do you have any familial responsibilities or house chores to do? For instance, do you need to help your little sister with her coursework? Are you planning on cooking dinner? Doing the laundry?
Make sure you write down everything: things you have scheduled already, things you need to finish today, and things you hope to get around to. The first step is simply getting these things written down. Use a pad and paper, the notes app on your phone, or anything else that suits you.
Prioritize items on your to do list
Once you have a to-do list together, you can begin prioritizing tasks within the list. Which tasks are urgent or time-specific? For instance, if you have to attend your online lectures and complete tomorrow’s homework, these are high-priority items. However, you might be able to skip binge-watching Ozark Season 3 on Netflix. Items/tasks that do not have time-specific deadlines, meet your basic needs, or do not require urgent attention, are considered low-priority.
Write down how long you think each task will take.It’s much easier to manage your time if you have an estimate of how much time tasks will take you. Jot down a segment of time next to each item on your prioritized to-do list before you start scheduling.
Schedule your day
Now for the fun part! Break out your paper planner, smart phone, or whatever you use to jot down appointments. Start by writing down any time-specific, high-priority tasks. These could be your online lecture, a meeting with your boss, or picking up your little sis from daycare. They all happen at specific times as well—so it’s important to write these down first to avoid confusion. Once these are in, start sliding in tasks where they best fit in your schedule. Start by scheduling your high-priority tasks, and move on down the list. If there isn’t time in the day to get to your lower priority tasks like Animal Crossing, that’s okay, there’s always tomorrow!
At its heart, Time Management is an investment in yourself. Your time is valuable and you are capable of so much when you have the time to dedicate to each project. Take control of your potential. Start practicing Time Management Today!