“Time Management” is one of those phrases that we have all heard but most of us don’t really understand what it means. Generally, the student life gives you a very focused awareness that really only goes as far as the end of each day, which is more than enough to think about considering all the assignments, classes, and studying you have to get through in one day. If you’re the list-making type of person, you probably start off the day with a To Do list of stuff that needs to get done by the end of the day, which (if you’re on a roll) might also include a a few things that are on the horizon like an upcoming test or big assignment. If you’re a little more of a go-with-the-flow type, you might just go class by class hoping you remembered to do everything that is due that day. Although both these approaches have their own benefits, I’m sure that there are days that you wish there were more than just 24 hours in a day because time just seems to vanish! Well, fortunately, there is a very simple way to help you make the best of your time without having to delve into time travel or teleportation because really who has time for that?
The first thing that you need to realize is that the key to managing your time wisely is actually change. No one is perfect, and some days you are more productive than others and that is okay! Being good at managing your time does not mean that you are always efficient 100% of the time; actually, becoming good at managing your time means that you can identify your flaws (aka common distractions and setbacks) and improve on them. The best way to do this is actually a two part strategy called “The Real vs The Ideal Schedule”. Part one, The Ideal, is to start off your week with a detailed schedule; the more specific you can be, the better! Estimate how long you need each day to do things like Sleep, Eat, Work, Study. Try to be as true to yourself as you can, so don’t forget to give yourself Rest & Relaxation/Netflix time too (an hour or two here and there doesn’t hurt anyone) if that’s a normal part of your day. Part two, The Real, is to go back and log how well you actually keep that schedule each day. Be honest with yourself and keep track of both productive AND unproductive times during the week. Part two of this strategy is what will really help you become good at managing your time because at the end of the day/week you will be able to see exactly where and on what your are losing time each day.
If you follow this method (and are honest with yourself), you will be able to use your time to YOUR advantage and will even realize that you have more time to spare than you ever thought you did!